Construction has returned to I-5 through JBLM

Sep 14, 2023, 4:00 PM

I-5 construction...

The existing overpass on I-5 that will be replaced (Photo from WSDOT, Doug Adamson)

(Photo from WSDOT, Doug Adamson)

Just when you thought it was safe to get on Interstate 5 (I-5) south of Tacoma, the construction workers, heavy machinery and lane closures are back.

This is the third and final phase of the freeway expansion through Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM). Work has just started on a project that will add close to two miles of HOV lane on I-5 southbound from where it ends today down to the Steilacoom-DuPont Road.

More Chokepoints: I-405 recently shut down again

According to Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) spokesperson Doug Adamson, there will be a corresponding 3.5-mile expansion of the HOV lane in the northbound direction.

“You’ll be able to pick up the new HOV lane right there at Mounts Road and be able to hang into an HOV lane all the way up to where it ends there, by State Route 512, and then pick it back up by State Route 16,” Adamson said.

This project will also build a new half-diverging diamond interchange at the Steilacoom-Dupont interchange, replacing the existing ramp.

“The existing one is too low, and it’s running towards the end of its life,” Adamson said. “It needs to be replaced.”

This interchange will greatly increase the access to the south end of JBLM, as will new auxiliary lanes connecting exits. The work has already begun, and contractors plan to keep three lanes open during the project.

“There will be better access through the JBLM to the DuPont Gate, and we’ll be extending the auxiliary lanes through the area so people can who are going exactly back into JBLM can use those,” Adamson said. “Travelers may have already noticed that we did shift some of the lanes over on northbound I-5.”

There will be overnight lane closures and other disruptions to drivers. This is a three-year project and Adamson said there’s enough work to go around to keep workers busy year round.

“Weather always is a factor,” he said. “It does affect paving. It does affect when we put down new lane lines, but we can do demolition. We can do earthwork. We can set girders.”

WSDOT said that 140,000 vehicles a day use that stretch of I-5. There have been significant improvements in travel through the area after the first two projects in this series. This project hopes to expand on those, easing mobility throughout the area.

And while this is the final phase of this project, it is not the last job on I-5.

Planning is already underway to widen the freeway from DuPont into Lacey, which will include new bridges over the Nisqually River. There is no timeline for this project, and the legislature has yet to fund it.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.


Photo: Traffic on I-5....

Micki Gamez

Prepare for traffic: Sound Transit to close lane of I-5 south

Washington has two seasons: winter and construction. Sound Transit is going to close one lane on I-5 south.

3 hours ago

ballard closures...

Chris Sullivan

Sullivan: Closures are clogging Ballard, and will be for next two months

Getting through Ballard along 15th Avenue Northwest can be hard enough as it is, and that was before the closures.

2 days ago

I-405 multi-car collision...

Frank Sumrall

Multiple lanes on I-405 North closed near Bellevue due to multi-car collision

Multiple lanes on Interstate 405 (I-405) heading north are closed near Coal Creek Parkway after a multi-car collision.

2 days ago

Photo: The Washington State Patrol is cracking down on people who cut in ferry lines....

James Lynch

Don’t be that person: State troopers fine ferry line cutters $145

Have you ever been frustrated by a driver who cut in line at a ferry terminal? Now the Washington State Patrol is cracking down.

2 days ago

5-car crash sr 900...

Frank Sumrall

Mustang causes 5-car crash on SR 900 after veering onto oncoming traffic

A 5-car crash on State Route 900 (SR 900) in Renton Sunday led to four injured individuals, a five-hour highway backup and a brush fire.

3 days ago

I-405 Eastside...

Chris Sullivan

I-405 closed, creating traffic nightmare on the Eastside

This is not the weekend to hit the Eastside because Interstate 405 (I-405), south of Bellevue because, is closed.

5 days ago

Construction has returned to I-5 through JBLM