On the move: I-5 lanes in Tacoma to shift

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New construction phase requires two traffic shifts

TACOMA – Contractor crews building a new southbound Interstate 5 bridge across the Puyallup River in Tacoma are getting ready to enter a new phase of construction that will move traffic in all lanes of I-5 from McKinley Way to the Port of Tacoma Road into new configurations.

Weather permitting, during the overnight hours of Friday, June 7, crews will shift all lanes of northbound I-5 from East McKinley Way to Portland Avenue left toward the Tacoma Dome side of the highway. During the morning commute of Saturday, June 8, northbound I-5 drivers will see lanes shifted and narrowed from 12 feet to 11 feet through the work zone. This traffic shift creates the necessary work zone to widen I-5 and repave a section of the original roadway surface.

Once that traffic shift is complete, approximately one week later, crews will shift three lanes of southbound I-5 lanes on to the new northbound I-5 Puyallup River Bridge. Crews will also create a temporary collector/distributor lane across the old southbound I-5 bridge for drivers using exit 135 at Bay Street.

What this means for travelers:I5 Tacoma changes June 2019

  • Southbound I-5 drivers exiting to State Route 167, Bay Street and Portland Avenue will need to stay in the right lane near Port of Tacoma Road to reach exit 135;
  • Port of Tacoma Road drivers headed to southbound I-5 will follow the same temporary collector/distributor lane across the old southbound I-5 bridge to rejoin southbound I-5;
  • Southbound I-5 travelers headed to Tacoma’s city center, SR 16 or Olympia will use one of the three left lanes near Port of Tacoma Road to reach their destinations.

WSDOT created a video describing the new lane configuration to help drivers plan ahead.

“The new temporary lane configuration may take some time for drivers to get used to,” said WSDOT Project Manager Gaius Sanoy. “We appreciate drivers’ patience while we work toward finishing this final HOV project.”

The temporary southbound lane configuration will be in place until the project’s completion in fall 2021.

Drivers are encouraged to adhere to the posted 50 mph speed limit in the work zone.

Visit the Tacomatraffic.com web page for updated HOV construction information. Real-time traveler information is available from the WSDOT app and by following the WSDOT regional Twitter feed.

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