Local Information

New southbound I-5 HOV lane through JBLM opens Saturday, July 31

Thursday, July 29, 2021 - 08:36

Update: The new southbound I-5 HOV lane near Gravelly Lake Drive to 41st Division Drive opened one day earlier than planned on Friday morning, July 30.

Cara Mitchell, communications, 360-357-2703

Lakewood I-5 construction nearly complete

LAKEWOOD – Just weeks after travelers began experiencing quicker trips during peak commute hours on northbound Interstate 5 in Lakewood, a second new high occupancy vehicle lane is set to open.

On Saturday morning, July 31, the Washington State Department of Transportation will open a new 4.5-mile-long southbound HOV lane near Gravelly Lake Drive in Lakewood and ends south of 41st Division Drive near Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

“We’ve seen immediate relief in terms of reduced travel times since the northbound HOV lane opened two weeks ago,” said WSDOT Regional Administrator John Wynands. “Improved drive times is an immediate benefit for anyone living, working or commuting in this corridor.”

The new northbound I-5 HOV lane opened Sunday, July 11. Opening the southbound HOV lane is a long-awaited milestone for the 140,000 vehicles that use the corridor every day.

Overnight lane closures

To open the new southbound HOV lane, interstate lanes and ramps between Gravelly Lake Drive and 41st Division Drive will close for restriping during overnight hours Thursday, July 29 and Friday, July 30.

Nighttime travelers on southbound I-5 are reminded to watch their speed and avoid distracted driving in the work zone for their own safety and for the crew members on site. Closure information is available on the Pierce and Thurston county travel planner webpage.

The new southbound I-5 HOV lane through JBLM is a sign that the end of the second phase of construction is near. The $242 million dollar project will wrap up at the end of September.

WSDOT would like to thank commuters and the communities this corridor serves for their ongoing patience and cooperation while we make improvements to this vital I-5 corridor.

Project history

Since October 2018, WSDOT’s contractor, Guy F. Atkinson Construction has accomplished much in the corridor, including the removal and rebuilding of I-5 interchanges at Berkeley Street and Thorne Lane to make room for the addition of the HOV lanes. The new interchanges removed a potential conflict between passenger trains and vehicles, and people who walk or ride. This work also raised the elevation of I-5 at Berkeley Street by 14 feet. This eliminated the expense of maintaining water pumps in a location where I-5 sat below the water table.

Future plans
More work is planned to complete widening of I-5 and extend the HOV lane in both directions into DuPont beginning in 2023. WSDOT’s overarching goal is to complete the HOV system between DuPont and the new HOV lanes that are nearly complete in Tacoma.

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