Work on the State Route 16 Westbound Nalley Valley Project springs into action this Sunday night, May 8, when traffic from northbound I-5 headed to westbound SR 16 shifts onto a temporary roadway.
While the shift is in place, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) asks drivers headed northbound on I-5 through Tacoma to give themselves extra time to reach their destinations. Starting Monday morning, drivers should be prepared for backups of up to three miles as they approach the SR 16 interchange during peak morning and afternoon commute times.
The shift will occur overnight Sunday. Crews will reduce the off-ramp from northbound I-5 to westbound SR 16 from two lanes to one and lower the speed limit from 35 mph to 15 mph for the approximately 41,000 drivers who access westbound SR 16 from northbound I-5 daily.
“Shifting drivers onto the temporary roadway lets us maintain access from northbound I-5 while we complete the new bridge and roadway approaches,” said Jon Deffenbacher, project engineer.
Last month, the heavily used on-ramp from 38th Street to northbound I-5 and SR 16 closed, allowing crews to continue rebuilding the Nalley Valley Viaduct. The ramp remains closed until the project is completed this summer. Until then, a signed detour routes drivers to the 56th Street interchange. The 38th Street ramp closure and northbound I-5 to SR 16 temporary roadway will remain in place for drivers until the project is completed late next month.
The traffic shift and ramp closure are the last major traffic impacts before the June completion of this $119.9 million project that began construction in January 2009.
Once the project is complete traffic in both directions of I-5 near the SR 16 interchange will open up and the approximate 65,000 motorists who travel the westbound Nalley Valley Viaduct will once again have full access to all but one of the Sprague Avenue on- and off-ramps. The southbound Sprague Avenue to eastbound SR 16 ramp reopens when the Eastbound SR 16 Nalley Valley project is complete in 2013.
Drivers will have a short reprieve from construction before works starts on the eastbound Nalley Valley viaduct this fall.
For more information about the SR 16 Westbound Nalley Valley project, visit www.tacomatraffic.com. For more information on the SR 16 Eastbound Nalley Valley project, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/piercecountyhov/sr16_ebnalleyvalley/.