Westbound Nalley Valley Viaduct opens to drivers

The Interstate 5/State Route 16 bottleneck broke this weekend as the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) opened the new Westbound Nalley Valley Viaduct on Sun., June 26, allowing traffic to flow from northbound and southbound I-5 to westbound SR 16 and Sprague Avenue.

“This project removes both the worst bottleneck and weave in the South Sound area,” said Kevin Dayton, WSDOT regional administrator. “There was definitely some pressure on the system because of the work necessary to accomplish this milestone. Drivers paid attention, remained patient and stuck with us — and we are truly grateful for this.”

Approximately 131,000 motorists drive this section of highway each day. Crews built 10 new bridges — including a segmental overpass connecting northbound I-5 to westbound SR 16 — since Guy F. Atkinson Construction started the $120 million, nickel-funded project in January 2009. The bridges, constructed from new approaches on 77 piers, span more than seven acres. The work supports construction of the Eastbound Nalley Valley Project, which begins this fall, and in 2013 will move eastbound SR 16 traffic onto a new viaduct and open a new ramp between S. Sprague Avenue and eastbound SR 16.

“The westbound work is a prelude of great things to come,” said Dayton. “It sets the stage for eastbound construction and for our upcoming efforts to reduce congestion with new HOV lanes in 2020.”

For more information about the I-5/SR 16 Westbound Nalley Valley Project, visit http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/PierceCountyHOV/SR16_WBNalleyValley . For more information about the SR 16 Eastbound Nalley Valley Project, visit http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/PierceCountyHOV/SR16_EBNalleyValley .