Plan ahead for early December overnight closures of I-5 in Tacoma

New East L Street overpass girder setting requires three nights of directional I-5 closures

TACOMA – Travelers planning to use Interstate 5 through Tacoma overnight on Dec. 2-4 will want to plan ahead and take alternate routes to avoid delays.

Construction crews building the new East L Street bridge over I-5 will close all lanes of southbound I-5 for one night and then all lanes of northbound I-5 for the next two nights to install 15 bridge girders.

Schedule

Thursday, Dec. 2 - Southbound I-5

  • Lane closures on southbound I-5 approaching the Puyallup River Bridge will begin at 8 p.m.
  • State Route 167 on-ramp to southbound I-5 will close at 9 p.m. and reopen by 5:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 3.
  • Portland Avenue on-ramp to southbound I-5 will close at 10 p.m. and reopen by 5 a.m. Friday, Dec. 3.
  • At 11 p.m., all lanes of southbound I-5 will close. Drivers will be detoured at the Bay Street/SR 167 North/Portland Avenue exit 135 and follow a signed detour to SR 509, I-705 and back to southbound I-5.  
  • Lanes will begin to reopen on Friday, Dec. 3 at 4 a.m., with all lanes open by 6 a.m.

Friday, Dec. 3 – Northbound I-5

  • Lane closures on northbound I-5 approaching South 38th Street will begin at 11:30 p.m.
  • Northbound I-5 exit to Portland Avenue will close at 11:30 p.m. and reopen by 6 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4.
  • The eastbound SR 16 HOV lane to northbound I-5 will close from 11:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4.  HOV drivers will use eastbound SR 16 to northbound I-5 and follow the detour using I-705.
  • I-705 and SR 7 on-ramp to northbound I-5 will close at midnight. The ramps will reopen by 5:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4.
  • At midnight, all lanes of northbound I-5 will close. Drivers will be detoured at northbound I-5 exit 133 to I-705, to SR 509 to Port of Tacoma Road and back to northbound I-5.
  • One lane will reopen Saturday, Dec. 4 at 5:30 a.m., with all lanes open by 7:30 a.m.

Saturday, Dec. 4 – Northbound I-5

  • Lane closures on northbound I-5 approaching South 38th Street will begin at 11 p.m.
  • Northbound I-5 exit to Portland Avenue will close at 11:30 p.m. and reopen by 7 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 5.
  • The eastbound SR 16 HOV lane to northbound I-5 will close from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 5.  HOV drivers will use eastbound SR 16 to northbound I-5 and follow the detour using I-705.
  • I-705 and SR 7 on-ramp to northbound I-5 will close at midnight. The ramps will reopen by 6 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 5.
  • At midnight, all lanes of northbound I-5 will close. Drivers will be detoured at northbound I-5 exit 133 to I-705, to SR 509 to Port of Tacoma Road and back to northbound I-5.
  • One lane will reopen on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 6 a.m. with all lanes open by 8 a.m.

WSDOT needs help from drivers

To help keep traffic moving and minimize congestion, anyone traveling between Seattle and Olympia overnight on Thursday, Dec. 2, Friday, Dec. 3, or Saturday, Dec. 4, is asked to do the following:

  • Use SR 18, SR 167 and SR 512 as alternate routes around I-5 in Tacoma.
  • Allow extra time for congestion.
  • Check backups from the WSDOT mobile app, or the newly updated real-time statewide travel map.
  • Consider traveling at another time.
  • Slow Down – drive the posted speeds, they’re there for your safety.

Local street closure

Construction crews will close East 28th Street from East L Street to Portland Avenue on Friday, Dec. 3, from 11:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4. Crews will flag East 28th Street from East L Street to Portland Avenue during the same hours into Sunday, Dec. 5.  The overnight temporary closure of East 28th Street is needed for staging the girders.

What is WSDOT doing?

In 2019, construction crews removed the old East L Street bridge over I-5 so the highway could be widened for high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes and an auxiliary lane in the northbound direction. As the project nears completion, crews are now able to build the center bridge pier and install the girders that become the backbone of the new East L Street overpass.

High winds, snow or ice have the potential of rescheduling this work.

Before heading out the door, travelers can find additional information by following the WSDOT regional Twitter feed.

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