Pacific Avenue re-opens, final phase of Sounder track and signal project begins

Pacific Avenue re-opened this morning more than two months ahead of schedule after crews spent nine months building a rail bridge and re-grading and re-paving streets for Sound Transit’s D to M Streets Sounder track and signal project.

When the final 1.4-mile segment of the Sounder commuter rail project is complete, Sound Transit will begin operating five daily peak round trips from Lakewood to Seattle this fall with a service target date of October 1.

“The re-opening of Pacific Avenue marks a significant milestone in our work to extend commuter rail service further south,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. “As the economy recovers and more people return to work, the extension to Lakewood will enable Sound Transit to meet our region’s growing transportation needs.”

During the closure, MidMountain Contractors, Inc., the contractor for the agency, built a bypass road on South Tacoma Way, made improvements to other roads that served as detour routes, and installed temporary traffic signals to minimize traffic disruption in the area.

The re-opening Pacific Avenue — one of the city’s main transportation arteries — marks the final phase of construction for the project. For the next several months, crews will be working to solidify the rail bed and lay track from D to M Streets; complete the Pacific Avenue rail bridge; install new crossing gates, signals, and other safety equipment along the rail line; build a new pedestrian underpass on A Street; re-pave South Tacoma Way and make improvements to South C Street; and provide landscaping to the area.

“On behalf of everyone who lives and works in Tacoma, I want to thank Sound Transit for partnering diligently with the city to complete such a significant phase of this project ahead of schedule,” said Mayor Marilyn Strickland. “I also want to acknowledge the Dome District merchants and area residents for their tireless work with Sound Transit to promote local businesses and keep traffic moving during construction. Our city is proud to have served such a pivotal role in extending Sounder service to Lakewood; we all look forward to continued collaboration as the last of this important work is completed.”

During the last stage of construction, commuters and residents and citizens can expect these traffic controls and street modifications: closure of A Street between South 25th to South 26th Streets on Mar. 20 while work is completed on the new rail bridge and the street is re-graded and re-paved to serve as a pedestrian and bicycle underpass. This section of A Street will be permanently closed to vehicles on Tuesday; temporary closure of A Street between South 26th and South 27th Streets for paving, striping and intersection work; reopening of South 26th Street from Pacific Avenue to A Street; continued closure of South C Street to South Tacoma Way to Pacific Avenue for street reconfiguring. Access to Interstate 5 and Pacific Avenue will be maintained via the bypass from South Tacoma Way to South 27th Street; closure of East D Street from East 25th Street to East 26th Street for utility installation and street and sidewalk re-grading. East C Street will remain open; installation of new track and signals. Some streets will be temporarily closed for this work; and sidewalk and street paving along South Tacoma Way will require temporary lane closures.

Additional information on the project, including vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle detours, is available online at .

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Pacific Avenue, closed for Sounder construction project, to reopen next week (03/12/12) —

‘Milestone’ moment for Sounder D to M project (12/08/11) —

Crane overturns in Dome District (07/06/11) —

Pac Ave section downtown closes June 8 for Sound Transit construction (06/02/11) —

Downtown Tacoma motel razed for Sounder service expansion (03/25/11) —

Sound Transit to discuss South Sound Sounder Station improvements (01/04/11) —

Sound Transit to award Sounder D-to-M Streets contract (08/26/10) —

Sound Transit expands Sounder south service (07/22/10) —

Pac Ave drivers prepare for Sounder expansion project (03/16/10) —