Pierce County has waited 30 years for the state to finish State Route 167. It was never designed to stop in Puyallup like it does today.
There are two pieces to the Gateway Project. The first finishes SR 167. The second extends and improves State Route 509.
The SR 167 project will extend the highway from where it ends in Puyallup, four miles to Tacoma, tying in to SR 509 just above the Port of Tacoma. Project manager Steve Fuchs said the first construction you will see will be near I-5.
“We’re actually going to build from I-5 over to 509 first,” he said. “Stage two will build from I-5 to Puyallup and make that connection.”
Drivers will get two new I-5 overpasses. That includes a new 70th overpass to help Fife traffic.
“Our first project, stage one-A, will build a new overpass over I-5,” Fuchs said. “That will be the first construction everyone sees, and then we will tear-down the existing 70th overpass.”
The second overpass will service SR 167 itself. Giving Fife a new way across I-5, and providing drivers on SR 167 a direct overpass to SR 509.
“The biggest benefit is getting direct access into and out of the Port of Tacoma,” he said. “We have truck traffic, now, that is taking a lot of local streets, going through a lot of intersections, going through neighborhoods trying to get into and out of the port.”
And, like many projects currently on the board, tolling is part of the equation. There are going to be two tolls on this corridor, one between Meridian in Puyallup and I-5 and another from I-5 over to SR 509. If you’re going all the way from the Port of Tacoma to Puyallup, you would pay two tolls. The rates have not yet been set.
Construction is set to begin in 2019. It’s not expected to finish until 2030. The entire cost of the project is nearly $2 billion, and that includes the other piece of the puzzle, the extension of SR 509 near SeaTac.