SR16 Tacoma onramp will close until 2011

Crews rebuilding the Nalley Valley Viaduct are scheduled to close the ramp from Sprague Avenue to westbound State Route 16 on June 1. About 2,200 vehicles a day use this ramp, which will remain closed through project completion in fall 2011.

Traffic volumes are expected to increase on Tacoma’s South 19th Street and at the Union Avenue on-ramp to westbound SR 16. About 5,000 vehicles a day use the Union Avenue ramp.

This is the third of four long-term closures of ramps that connect Sprague Avenue to SR 16. Two ramps were demolished earlier this year, and the fourth ramp – westbound SR 16 to Sprague Avenue – is slated to close in the fall.

The ramps are in the way of the new bridges and Sprague Avenue connections under construction on the I-5/SR 16 Westbound Nalley Valley project. The new westbound bridges and Sprague Avenue ramps eliminate one of Pierce County’s worst bottlenecks and reduce collisions by an estimated 60 percent, or 16 fewer per year.

Drivers are advised to find alternate routes, stay alert in the construction zone, and stay informed about the project and its traffic impacts at

The ramp closures, while an inconvenience, are signs that this $120 million project is progressing. Crews just wrapped up a pile-driving operation that left steel columns standing like soldiers in formation along the eastbound lanes of SR 16. The columns will support temporary bridges that keep traffic moving during construction of the new viaduct.

This project is funded by the 2003 Nickel transportation package, employs about 200 construction workers and supports an estimated 620 jobs.