Westbound TNB adds lane this week

The towering twin bridges across the Narrows waterway gain yet another similarity this week when crews open a fourth lane on the westbound 1950 span.
Before the lane opens on Fri., Feb. 1, there is work to be done that requires lane closures and traffic revisions on the old bridge and on the lanes leading to the bridge, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. Drivers should expect overnight lane closures throughout the work zone Monday through Friday, Jan. 28 — Feb. 1, for pavement grinding and barrier removal.
Adding the eighth lane over the Narrows means both bridges now boast three general purpose lanes and an HOV lane. This work is effectively the last big hurrah for an enormously complicated construction project that has captured international attention and kept locals riveted for five years.
The new lane stretches about four miles and is referred to as an “add-drop” lane because it adds, or begins, as an extension of the Pearl Street on-ramp in Tacoma and drops, or ends, at the 24th Street Northwest off-ramp on the Gig Harbor side — where westbound SR 16 reverts to three lanes.
There is no lane changing on the 1950 bridge, so drivers who enter at Pearl Street and don’t want to exit at 24th Street must merge into the through-traffic lanes before getting on the bridge or after they exit the bridge. There is more than a mile to merge left on the Tacoma side, and about a quarter-mile on the Gig Harbor side.
The new Narrows Bridge broke ground in 2002 and opened to traffic July 16, 2007, increasing safety and easing congestion across the Narrows by putting westbound and eastbound traffic on separate bridges.
For more information about this project, visit tacomanarrowsbridge.com. Information about roadway work that may impact traffic in the region can be found at wsdot.wa.gov/Regions/Olympic/Construction .