TACOMA, Wash. — Major changes are on the way for Tacoma drivers this weekend.
Southbound Interstate 5 is expected to move to its final alignment Sunday morning. Two previously closed ramps from South Sprague Avenue and to South 38th Street have re-opened.
The final shift requires a series of lane and ramp closures that last until Saturday evening. A full list of closure information can be found on the Washington State Department of Transportation’s website.
New I-5 alignment
Southbound I-5 lanes will shift to their permanent alignment and will no longer be directly adjacent to the northbound I-5 lanes with a temporary barrier.
Right now one lane of traffic travels across the new bridge, but with the new alignment, all lanes will go across the bridge.
Once the lanes have been shifted, contractor crews can begin removing temporary striping and the barrier along the northbound I-5 lanes from 48th Street to M Street. Those lanes will be shifted to their permanent structure with 12-foot-wide lanes and a wider shoulder.
The on-ramp from South Sprague Street re-opened Friday morning, and eastbound State Route 16 and Sprague Street drivers now use a dedicated ramp. Drivers heading to South 38th Street will use another dedicated ramp.
Exit 132A from southbound I-5 to South 38th Street re-opened, making that exit an exit-only lane. Drivers will no longer be able to reconnect with southbound I-5 if they take that exit.
WSDOT hopes implementing these dedicated ramps and lanes will eliminate weaving traffic and alleviate congestion.
Although it’s a big milestone in Tacoma traffic construction, there’s still more work to be done.
The new I-5 alignment and ramps are part of a bigger project to build HOV lanes between I-5 and SR 16. Those HOV lanes are expected to open this fall, according to WSDOT.