I-5 widening through Tacoma begins this week

The more than 200,000 drivers a day who use I-5 through Tacoma will soon see the first traffic impacts from...

The more than 200,000 drivers a day who use I-5 through Tacoma will soon see the first traffic impacts from a $72.9 million, three-year highway improvement project.

The Washington State Department of Transportation and its contractor, Kiewit Pacific Co. of Renton will close the 38th Street on-ramp to northbound I-5 on Tuesday, Aug. 30. In order to protect workers in the area, the ramp will remain closed for approximately two months.

Kiewit Pacific also plans additional nighttime lane and ramp closures. For the week of Aug. 29, these include:

— From 11 p.m., Monday, Aug. 29 through 5 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30, crews will reduce southbound I-5 to one lane from the City Center area to the SR 16 interchange. To direct traffic away from the work zone, crews will close the on-ramps from I-705, SR 7, and Pacific Avenue onto southbound I-5 during construction working hours. A signed detour will direct traffic to the Portland Ave. interchange.

— From 11 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30 through 5 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31, crews will reduce northbound I-5 to one lane from the SR 16 interchange to the City Center area. To direct traffic away from the work zone, the eastbound SR 16 ramp to northbound I-5 will be closed during construction working hours. A signed detour will direct traffic to the 56th Street interchange.

— The two left lanes of northbound and southbound I-5 will be closed from 11 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31 through 5 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 1 and again from 11 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1 through 5 a.m. Friday, Sept. 2.

In 2003, the Washington State Legislature approved the $102 million improvements to the stretch of highway from approximately the Tacoma Mall to the Tacoma Dome. The project is one of 22 projects that comprise the Tacoma/Pierce County Core HOV Program. The 2003 Legislative Transportation Funding package included $373 million for the projects while the 2005 Legislature added $425 million.

Through these series of projects, the entire Tacoma I-5 corridor will be widened for an additional lane and wider shoulders in each direction from 38th Street to the King County Line to make room for future HOV lanes. For more information on the Pierce County HOV System, including the I-5 48th to Pacific Highway Improvement Project, visit http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/piercecountyhov.

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