Tacoma motorists prepare for weekend SR 16 closures

Nalley Valley bridge-demolition work this weekend over State Route 16 requires detouring traffic off the highway for two 12-hour periods.

“This schedule allows us to take down the bridge in one weekend, as opposed to stretching out the work for weeks with daily lane closures and traffic shifts,” said WSDOT Olympic Region Administrator Kevin Dayton. “This results in increased efficiency and safety for the workers, and fewer disruptions for the traveling public.”

Westbound lanes close 10 p.m. Fri., March 6 to 10 a.m. Sat., March 7. Drivers from Interstate 5 can access westbound SR 16, but must take the first exit at Sprague Avenue. The detour back to westbound SR 16 is west on South 19th Street, then south on Union Avenue.

Eastbound lanes close 10 p.m. Sat., March 7 to 10 a.m. Sun., March 8. The detour route takes traffic off SR 16 at Union Avenue, south to 38th Street, then east to I-5.

Crews using hydraulic shears and breakers are removing a bridge that spans all lanes of SR 16 in the Nalley Valley area. Until last month, the bridge carried exiting traffic from eastbound SR 16 to Sprague Avenue. Steel plates and a thick layer of sand will cushion the impact of falling steel and concrete on the SR 16 lanes.

The demolition work sets the stage for construction of new westbound SR 16 bridges, ramps and I-5 connections. These changes eliminate the weave of traffic where vehicles from I-5 change lanes in order to merge onto SR 16 or exit at Sprague Avenue.

Eliminating the weave untangles one of Pierce County’s worst bottlenecks and reduces collisions by an estimated 60 percent, or 16 per year. The I-5/SR 16 Westbound Nalley Valley project also provides a local economic boost, creating more than 200 construction-related jobs.

For more project information, visit http://www.tacomatraffic.com .