A new flyover ramp opens Monday connecting westbound State Route 18 to southbound Interstate 5 in Federal Way, helping to ease an interchange known for being a bottleneck.
The original interchange was built in the 1960’s with the classic cloverleaf design, but high traffic volumes have caused it to outlive its usefulness.
Drivers from Auburn who want to head to Tacoma won’t have to use the cloverleaf anymore. They will use the same exit as drivers who are going to Seattle. That ramp will split, sending Tacoma drivers to the new flyover.
A second flyover ramp is scheduled to open July 23, connecting eastbound SR 18 with northbound I-5. When it opens, drivers leaving Federal Way to head to Tacoma or Seattle will use one ramp from SR 18. The ramp will split, sending Seattle drivers to the new flyover.
Starting in September, drivers who use the flyover from westboud SR 18 to get to Tacoma will have the option of exiting onto SR 161 near Wild Waves theme park. It will allow drivers coming from Auburn to bypass the intersection where SR 18 ends in Federal Way.
The cloverleaf exits from northbound I-5 to westbound SR 18 and from southbound I-5 to eastbound SR 18 will remain.
The ramps are part of a major $112 million project, which the Washington State Department of Transportation says was paid for with gas taxes, federal funds and existing funds.