TACOMA – Drivers who use southbound Interstate 5 in Tacoma are encouraged to prepare for potential big weekend backups and slowdowns.
Starting at 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26, contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will reduce southbound I-5 to two lanes between Portland Avenue and M Street. The lane reduction will remain in place until 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 29.
The weekend-long restriction will allow the contractor to replace nearly 1,200 feet of aging concrete along a portion of southbound I-5. The new concrete must cure before the lanes can reopen to traffic. During the curing process, drivers may see the lanes closed, but no active work in progress.
WSDOT needs help from drivers to keep traffic moving
Nearly 100,000 drivers travel along this stretch of southbound I-5 each day. WSDOT traffic engineers estimate that even if 50 percent of drivers avoid southbound I-5 this weekend, there will still be long southbound backups.
“We recognize this around-the-clock restriction will be a big inconvenience for area drivers and we strongly encourage people to avoid the area altogether,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Brenden Clarke. “We are working in a very tight location that gives us no choice but to squeeze traffic down to two lanes to complete this work.”
Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead for construction and create a travel strategy:
- Allow plenty of extra time to travel through the workzone or on alternate routes.
- Travel early in the morning or later in the evening.
- Ride transit or carpool.
- Consider postponing or eliminating discretionary trips.
- Check traffic on the WSDOT Tacoma traffic website or WSDOT’s mobile app.