Crews cancelled weather-dependent work shifting southbound I-5 onto new pavement scheduled for tonight due to a poor forecast with a high chance of rain. When a drier weather opportunity appears, crews plan on completing striping and barrier removal and will shift southbound traffic into new pavement that ultimately becomes the first I-5 HOV lanes in Pierce County. That opportunity could come as soon as this weekend.
Drivers can expect delays tonight on southbound Interstate 5 when the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) shifts traffic onto new pavement that will ultimately be the first I-5 HOV lanes in Pierce County. WSDOT recently completed widening a 1.5-mile segment of median from Port of Tacoma Road to 54th Avenue East. Shifting I-5 traffic into the median area allows widening activities to begin on the outside shoulder and on- and off-ramps. Widening I-5 accommodates new HOV lanes. Striping and barrier removal reduces southbound I-5 to a single lane beginning at the West Hylebos Creek Bridge overnight. Crews close two lanes of southbound I-5 beginning at 8 p.m. and will close three lanes by 10 p.m. All lanes will reopen by 5 a.m. Thursday. This work is weather dependent. When southbound I-5 opens Thursday morning, drivers will encounter reduced lane and shoulder widths in the project limits. A similar shift for northbound I-5 traffic is scheduled next week. Widening in the median from north of 54th Avenue East to the King County line continues through May 2010. Contractor Tri-State Construction, Inc. began construction in August 2009 to extend the I-5 HOV network south from King County. When complete in late 2011, the project adds new HOV lanes on northbound and southbound I-5 from the King County line to the Port of Tacoma Road interchange in Fife, about three miles in each direction. For more information, visit the project web page at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/PierceCountyHOV/I5_PortTacomatoKing .