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Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Lisa Copeland, communications manager, 360-357-2789 (Tumwater)
Jon Deffenbacher, Project Engineer, 253-589-6100 (Tacoma)
TACOMA – The heavily used on-ramp from 38th Street to northbound Interstate 5 and State Route 16 will close Monday, April 18, as crews continue rebuilding the Nalley Valley Viaduct. The ramp will remain closed until the project is completed this summer.
A signed detour will reroute drivers to southbound I-5, then 56th street to access northbound I-5 and SR 16.
The ramp closure is a prelude to the biggest challenge ahead – completion of the new I-5 northbound off-ramp to SR 16. For six to eight weeks beginning in early May, northbound I-5 traffic heading to westbound SR 16 will be shifted to a temporary roadway while crews complete the new ramp. Drivers should plan for congestion during this period.
“Drivers have been patient and southbound I-5 travelers, in particular, have endured a difficult temporary configuration,” said Kevin Dayton, region administrator with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). “Now northbound I-5 drivers will also be inconvenienced, but when the ramp is finished, the new westbound viaduct opens and traffic will flow.”
The ramp closure and temporary roadway are needed so crews can build the approach roadway to the new segmental bridge that will eventually carry northbound I-5 traffic to westbound SR 16. The temporary roadway allows WSDOT to maintain traffic during construction.
While crews are building the new ramp, other work will continue. Some bridge-deck and barrier work remains, along with joint sealing, and final overlay on the new fly-over bridge.
The final push will be to install all of the traffic signing and striping. Once traffic is moved to the new structures, crews will still be hard at work, performing the cleanup and miscellaneous repairs that make a project truly finished.
WSDOT is aiming for a late June ribbon-cutting ceremony when the new westbound viaduct is complete. Local drivers will get a reprieve from construction until fall when crews begin rebuilding the eastbound Nalley Valley Viaduct.
For more information about the SR 16 westbound Nalley Valley project, visit www.tacomatraffic.com/.
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