Washington State Department of Transportation announcement.
Construction is underway…
When traveling on either surface streets or I-5 through the City of Fife this summer, you will likely notice construction activities for the SR 167 Completion Project have started once again.
On July 8, project partners met for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of construction for the SR 167, I-5 to SR 509 – New Expressway Project.
“We are going to improve freight mobility here on the West Coast of the United States by providing a direct access from the interstate system to the port.”
-Roger Millar, Washington Transportation Secretary
In 2021, the Wapato Way East bridge and the SR 99 roundabout were completed. Since then, Atkinson Construction, the design-build contractor for the SR 167, I-5 to SR 509 New Expressway Project, has started construction on a two-mile, elevated expressway from I-5 to the Port of Tacoma.
What construction activities will you see?
In July, crews began installing high visibility fencing in the fields just north of the Interurban Trail parking lot on 20th St. East in preparations for embankment work to construct a new interchange at I-5. More than 250,000 cubic yards of fill will be delivered to the site during mostly nighttime work through fall 2022 – enough to fill almost ninety-seven Olympic-sized pools! Crews will work to reduce noise from this work as much as possible.
Delivery of 250,000 cubic yards of fill began in July
Also in July, lanes were narrowed and shifted toward the median in both directions of I-5 through Fife to allow crews to begin pile driving work to widen the existing Hylebos Creek bridge. The current bridge is located north of the Fife curve on I-5 and most drivers are unaware they are even crossing a bridge. The existing Hylebos Creek will be re-routed as part of the Riparian Restoration Program.
Drivers traveling through Fife on I-5 can expect narrower lanes and shoulders as work progresses through 2024. Drivers are advised to reduce their speeds to 50 mph and be aware of limited sightlines while driving through the construction work zone.
People traveling and living near Hylebos Creek west of I-5 may experience daytime construction noise in the coming months. Atkinson Construction will also be demolishing abandoned buildings in the WSDOT’s right of way, relocating utilities, and has permanently closed a section of 62nd Avenue East and 8th Street East in Fife located within the expressway’s path.
Sharing the road with commercial vehicles
While driving through the new Wapato Way roundabout, you may have noticed signs that say, “Do not drive beside trucks in roundabouts.” These signs convey an important safety message to passenger vehicles driving through the roundabout at SR 99 and Wapato Way East.
Washington State law allows commercial vehicles “to deviate from the lane in which the operator is driving to the extent necessary to approach and drive through a circular intersection” (RCW 46.25.140).
Next time you drive through a roundabout, note any large trucks and yield to them through the intersection. Allowing commercial vehicles the space needed to navigate the roundabout will help keep traffic moving through the intersection.
Roundabout safety tips: stay alert and let trucks go first!
Planning a trail for non-motorized travel along the future SR 167 Expressway
The SR 167 Completion Project includes portions of the Tacoma to Puyallup (T2P) Regional Trail. The new shared use trail will connect Puyallup to Fife and downtown Tacoma offering people who live and work in the area a new option to travel without a motorized vehicle to a variety of destinations. Throughout 2022, WSDOT and partners that include the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Pierce County, the cities of Puyallup, Fife, and Tacoma, and other local agencies and organizations worked to finalize the trail route and set a direction for the trail design and character.
Over the summer the project team presented trail advisory groups and the public with two options to connect the SR 167 portion to the downtown Tacoma portion. The preferred option (Option A) will route users along the west side of Alexander Avenue East and continue along the south side of Pacific Highway East.
Online voters selected Option A as the trail’s route through Fife
With the trail route finalized, the project team will begin preliminary engineering, cost estimating, and environmental review. Preliminary engineering will include design elements that prioritize the trail user over motor vehicles to minimize potential vehicle conflicts. This can happen through pavement treatments and signage, consolidation of driveways where feasible, raising the trail to create speed humps, providing adequate sight distance and other design modifications.
The project team is also meeting monthly with the Puyallup Tribe of Indians to incorporate the Tribe’s language, history, and culture into the trail design and character. This could include bilingual wayfinding signage in the native language of the Puyallup Tribe, txʷəlšucid (Twulshootseed).
How can I learn more?
- Come check out our booth on October 1st at the Fife Harvest Festival.
- Interested in a presentation to your civic group? Please reach out to schedule a briefing via email! Email us at SR167CompletionProject@wsdot.wa.gov
- Visit the project website for more information or call our hotline at 253-220-5009.