Claudia Bingham Baker, 360-357-2789
TACOMA – Wood chips took the place of dirt today as state and local officials gathered to break ground on the Washington State Department of Transportation’s $168 million I-5: M Street to Portland Avenue HOV project. This project will tackle a well-known bottleneck on the I-5 corridor, near the Tacoma Dome, by adding HOV lanes.
As part of the project, contractor crews will also repave northbound and southbound I-5 through the project area, and rebuild the McKinley Way and Pacific Avenue bridges to accommodate a widened I-5.
Drivers can expect narrowed lanes and shifted alignments in both directions of I-5. In mid-September, crews will begin the process of demolishing and rebuilding the Pacific Avenue overpass, which will require a lengthy closure and detour around the work.
When the project is complete in 2017, motorists will be driving on a newly-resurfaced northbound and southbound I-5. The HOV lanes that will be built, however, will remain closed to traffic until two adjacent projects to the north build HOV lanes across the Puyallup River. The first of those two projects is tentatively scheduled to be advertised to contractors for construction bids this fall.
The work is a piece of the overall effort to build HOV lanes on I-5, State Route 16 and SR 167 in Pierce County.
Following the ceremony in McKinley Park in Tacoma, the wood chips were placed as part of a pedestrian trail in the park.