LAKEWOOD – A permanent change coming to a busy southbound Interstate 5 exit in Lakewood is a sign that construction on I-5 from Gravelly Lake Drive to 41st Division Drive is nearing completion.
Washington State Department of Transportation contractor Guy F. Atkinson Construction is preparing to open a new shared exit on southbound I-5 for Berkeley Street and Thorne Lane, and a new Thorne Lane on-ramp to southbound I-5.
To put these permanent changes into place, during the overnight hours of Saturday, June 5, crews will simultaneously close the existing exits to Thorne Lane and Berkeley Street to re-stripe southbound I-5.
During the overnight ramp closures, southbound I-5 travelers going to Madigan Army Medical Center or Lakewood’s Tillicum or Woodbrook neighborhoods will detour south on I-5 to 41st Division Drive and return north on I-5 to access either exit.
By Sunday morning, June 6, travelers will see two distinct changes:
- A new shared exit on southbound I-5 for Berkeley Street and Thorne Lane will be open.
- The Thorne Lane on-ramp to southbound I-5 will reopen in a new location.
This work is weather dependent and may be rescheduled.
The end results
The opening of the Thorne Lane on-ramp to southbound I-5 in a new permanent location means travelers no longer face potential delays associated with the railroad. It also removes the temporary detour using Gravelly Lake Drive to reach southbound I-5.
The new shared exit to Thorne Lane and Berkeley Street is barrier separated from I-5 travel lanes. This highway design feature can prevent excessive weaving and merging vehicles, which both often cause collisions. Travelers going to Madigan Army Medical Center, Camp Murray, Lakewood’s Tillicum and Woodbrook neighborhoods and JBLM’s Logistic Gate will need to make note of this permanent change. A WSDOT blog published in late April has more details about the changes.
Change for bicyclists
The opening of the new shared exit on southbound I-5 means that bicyclists will now follow the southbound collector-distributor lane to Berkeley Street to access Tillicum or Woodbrook neighborhoods. The short temporary detour path at Thorne Lane that crosses the railroad will officially close. The temporary bicycle detour for northbound and southbound I-5 remains in place until the project is completed, later this year.
About the project
This project, which began in October 2018, widens I-5 and rebuilds the Thorne Lane and Berkeley Street interchanges to add an HOV lane in each direction. The remaining milestones on the project include finishing the roundabout connection from Union Avenue to the new Thorne Lane high bridge and opening the new HOV lanes later this summer.
WSDOT will share the ramp and lane closure hours after Memorial Day at www.TacomaTraffic.com. Before heading out the door, travelers can find the latest road conditions on the WSDOT app and by following the WSDOT regional Twitter feed.