Traffic shift coming for I-5 in Fife, if the weather allows

Jan 10, 2024, 7:05 AM | Updated: 8:46 am

traffic fife weather...

Orange contrast lane striping was added in both directions of I-5 through the SR 167 Completion Project work zone in Fife, WA. (Photo from Flickr @WSDOT)

(Photo from Flickr @WSDOT)

Interstate 5 drivers in Fife will be starting the new year with a lane shift, but it’s up to the weather when it will happen.

Construction on the new I-5 bridges over Hylebos Creek in Fife is about to wrap up the first piece of the puzzle: the inside lanes of I-5. That’s where workers have been busy on the inside of the freeway. The work is about to move to the outside of the freeway.

More chokepoints: How is freeway encampment clearing going?

“We’re just about done building the inner halves of both of those bridges,” Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) spokesperson Kris Olsen said.  “We’ve repaved them. We’ve put down various types of seals. Now we need to do the striping so that we can move the traffic that’s currently on the outsides of I-5 back toward the median.”

The first night for potential striping in the southbound direction is Tuesday, Jan. 9, but it is weather-dependent.

Olsen said the contractor will keep looking for windows to get it done.

“The weather for restriping needs to be just right,” she said. “You have to have the right humidity. You have to have the right ground temperature. You don’t want it to be raining, so there’s a lot of different elements that come into play.”

The forecast is not looking good. The plan is to stripe the lanes in the southbound direction first and then move the travel lanes to the left and onto the new bridge decks. The northbound switch should take place a week later, again, weather permitting.

Olsen said drivers shouldn’t have much issue with the shift to the left.

“It really is not going to be that much of a jog to the left,” Olsen said. “Nowhere near as dramatic as we’ve seen in that jog to the outside right in both directions.”

Once these traffic shifts are complete, the speed limit will return to normal through the work zone.

More news: Blizzard warning issued for WA mountains, snow expected across the region

“The speed will return to its regulatory 60 miles per hour,” Olsen said. “There will be an advisory speed of 50 miles per hour because this is an active construction zone.  We will have people working fairly close to the highway.”

So it’s a good idea to watch your speed through the construction zone.

It should take about ten months to build the outside lanes of the bridge decks. They should open in late, late summer or early fall.

The next item on the Gateway Project to-do list after this will be the demolition of the old 70th Avenue overpass over I-5. Then, construction of the new interchange over I-5 will begin. That interchange will take the expanding State Route 167 over the freeway and to State Route 509 into the Port of Tacoma.

That project should be done around 2028.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

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Traffic shift coming for I-5 in Fife, if the weather allows