A quarter-mile stretch of Interstate 5 in Tacoma has been causing headaches for drivers for the past few months.
The semi-truck crash that resulted in the full closer of I-5 for hours on Wednesday was just the latest example of that.
This area is part of an HOV project to better connect I-5 and State Route 16. The contractor for the project has been conducting weekly reviews, according to a spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Transportation. Traffic control is meeting both state and federal standards.
There have been seven significant crashes near State Route 16 since October. There have been two in about a week.
"It is really unfortunate we keep having these issues through here," WSDOT spokesperson Cara Mitchell said.
The current alignment of I-5 seems to be making things more problematic. Sections of a temporary Jersey Barrier separating the northbound and southbound lanes have been pushed into opposite lanes by larger vehicles. In the case of Wednesday's crash, a semi-truck traveling south struck the barrier, pushing pieces of it into the northbound lanes.
Washington State Trooper Johnna Batiste says the causing factor for these crashes are speeding to fast for conditions or negligent driving. They also tend to happen when it's wet out.
The configuration of I-5 has been in place since May. It wasn't until October when the state says it began seeing these crashes.
Road work in the area is part of the I-5 - State Route 16 project that will introduce direct-access ramps to connect I-5 HOV lanes to SR16 HOV lanes. Part of that work includes the realignment of I-5 in both directions. Construction is expected to be complete by 2020.