TACOMA – Contractor crews working on the I-5 M Street to Portland Avenue project have successfully implemented the first phase of a southbound Interstate 5 traffic switch in Tacoma near Portland Avenue. During the overnight hours of Tuesday, July 11, crews started the process of dividing the southbound highway into two distinct roadways separated by barrier.
This temporary lane configuration provides three left lanes that take drivers toward south Tacoma, Lakewood, Olympia and beyond. The two right lanes now form collector/distributor (C/D) lanes that provide access to I-705, State Route 7, SR 16 and S. 38th Street.
WSDOT invites drivers to view a video on YouTube to help understand the temporary southbound traffic switch, which will be in place through the end of 2017.
Overnight lane and ramp closures
Over the next few nights, crews will reposition the C/D lanes and restripe the on- and off-ramps between the southbound C/D lanes to I-705, SR 7, and Pacific Avenue. WSDOT advises motorists to pay extra heed to the changing lane alignments throughout the week.
Friday, July 14
- Southbound I-5 C/D lanes will close from 11 p.m. until 4:30 a.m. Saturday.
- Portland Avenue and SR 167 on-ramp to southbound I-5 will close from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. Saturday.
- Southbound I-5 exit to S. 38th Street and westbound SR 16 will close from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Saturday.
- I-705 and Pacific Avenue on-ramps to southbound I-5 will close from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Saturday.
The temporary alignment will allow crews to replace the original concrete of I-5 and create a work zone to advance work on the new McKinley Street overpass. Detours will be provided for all ramp closures.
Question: If I take the C/D instead of the through- lanes, can I still reach southbound I-5?
Answer: Yes, the C/D lanes will merge back onto southbound I-5 near S. 38th Street.
Question: If I miss the C/D and need to get to SR 16 or I-705, where can I turn around?
Answer: If drivers miss the C/D, they can turn around at the S. 56th Street interchange and take the northbound I-5 exit 132 to either SR 16 or I-705.
Question: Will drivers entering southbound I-5 at Portland Avenue go onto the C/D?
Answer: Drivers entering southbound I-5 from Portland Avenue will be directed onto the C/D and can rejoin southbound I-5 at S. 38th Street.
For regularly updated information for these projects, please visit the Tacomatraffic.com web page. Real-time traveler information is available from the WSDOT app and by following the WSDOT regional Twitter feed.