LOCAL NEWS

After 22 years and $1.4 billion, the new I-5 HOV lanes open in Tacoma

Aug 26, 2022, 11:47 AM

After 22 years of construction on Interstate 5, Tacoma’s High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) project will be fully open to the public Sunday, Aug. 28.

The newly opened section runs from Port of Tacoma Road in Fife, at State Route 167 in Pierce County, to the State Route 16 interchange in Tacoma.

HOV lanes and left lane camping explained, again

Construction has been happening for more than two decades at the cost of more than $1.4 billion to pay for shifting lanes, construction barriers, and detours on the highway.

The 90s-era plan called for a continuous HOV system on I-5 from Seattle south to SR 512 and another on SR 16 from I-5 to Port Orchard.

Construction on the project began in 2001 in Nalley Valley at the I-5 and South 38th Street interchange, and in 2010, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) opened its first Pierce County HOV lanes on a span of I-5 from the King County line to the Port of Tacoma Road.

The project’s completion was initially set for the end of 2021, but with supply chain issues creating delays in getting essential building materials, from pipes to concrete, the project had to be delayed by contractor Atkinson Construction.

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, one location where drivers will see noticeable improvements is from eastbound SR 16 to northbound I-5, where drivers in the HOV lane have been forced to merge with traffic in the general-purpose lanes, sometimes causing significant backups.

 

In addition to building HOV lanes, WSDOT has also rebuilt bridges to meet current seismic standards, helped the environment by improving stormwater treatment ponds and drainage systems, replaced the original asphalt and concrete roadway on I-5, updated new electronic traffic devices, and added new travel cameras.

The L Street overpass, featuring new dedicated bike lanes, is not finished, but it opened to traffic Friday, Aug. 19, and will require some overnight closures to complete.

The southbound HOV section between SR 16 and King County will be complete by the morning of Sunday, Aug. 28, but that is not quite the end of the project.

There will still be a few overnight closures of the lanes on I-5 to put down reflective pavement markings and paint. After that, the project will be officially complete.

Other projects that will still need to be completed include a levy fortification along the Puyallup River, dedicated left turn lanes on Portland Avenue under I-5, and the rebuilding of the SR 167 on-ramp to southbound I-5.

WSDOT officials urge drivers to still be cautious and not get too complacent in their celebrations though, for the sake of the crews working on finishing up the construction project.

“On any state highway in our state, we ask that you keep our crews safe when you’re driving through a work zone,” WSDOT said. “Please pay attention to the road in front of you and don’t drive distracted. We want all our road crews to go home safely at the end of their shifts.”

Local News

Photo from KIRO 7...
Deborah Horne, KIRO 7 News

‘Just a hell of a kid,’ says father of trooper shot on duty

The father of a Washington State trooper speaks out days after a suspect tried to kill his son while on duty.
7 hours ago
drones...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Huskies, Seahawks games paused after drones fly over stadiums

A similar incident occurred Saturday night over Husky Stadium as the University of Washington football team took on the Stanford Cardinal.
1 day ago
I-90 Traffic Mess...
Jake Chapman, KIRO 7 News

WB I-90 now re-open; many furious over construction planning

Traffic has been a nightmare for many in western Washington this weekend, especially those who attempted to go westbound on Interstate 90.
1 day ago
Kent shooting...
Deborah Horne, KIRO 7 News

Kent shooting likely a case of domestic violence

A Kent neighborhood is on edge after an argument between two acquaintances ended in gunfire on Saturday morning.
1 day ago
Auburn shooting...
KIRO 7 News Staff

1 dead, 2 injured in drive-by shooting in Auburn

An investigation is underway after one man was killed and two other men were injured in a drive-by shooting Friday night in Auburn.
2 days ago
Generic Cop Lights...
Lisa Brooks

Suspect in Walla Walla trooper shooting held on attempted murder charges

Attempted murder and weapons charges have been filed against 37-year-old Brandon O'Neel of Walla Walla, in connection with Thursday night's shooting of a Washington state Patrol trooper.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
After 22 years and $1.4 billion, the new I-5 HOV lanes open in Tacoma