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Speed limits lowered to 50 mph within problem stretch of I-5 in Tacoma

After eight traffic-snarling crashes on I-5 in Tacoma, the state lowered the speed limit while construction in the area continues.

The state has lowered the speed limit on I-5 through a stretch of the freeway where a number of high-profile crashes have occurred in recent months.

The speed limit was reduced to 50 mph Monday along an eight-mile stretch of I-5 in Tacoma. The speed limit will be enforced in both directions. 

In the northbound lanes, speed was reduced between milepost 130.91 near South 48th Street and milepost 136.19 at Port of Tacoma Road. Speed was reduced in the southbound lanes between milepost 136.67 and milepost 130.91. 

The reduced speed limit will be combined with increased enforcement by the Washington State Patrol, according to the state. 

Because the speed limits were only an advisory before, the state patrol could not cite drivers traveling between 50-60 mph. 

WATCH: Why the state is lowering the speed limit on I-5 near Tacoma

Ron Livingston, who oversees safety and training for Graham Trucking, said their drivers travel the route every day.

“It is a nightmare at times,” he said. “Unfortunately it’s becoming more common than not.”

He said the reduction in speed seems like a good idea overall.

“That would be a good idea in my opinion,” he said. “Whether that will solve the issue, I’m not too sure. It’s more of a culture type thing.”

He said he’d rather see more defensive driving – from both truckers, and cars.

Two state construction projects are currently going on in the area, the I-5/SR 16 realignment and Portland Avenue to Port of Tacoma Road HOV project. At least a portion of the freeway through the construction areas have been narrowed. 

When the realignment project is complete, the state will consider adjusting the speed limit to just the area of the HOV project. Once all construction is complete, the state will likely raise the speed limit back to 60 mph. 

Since September, eight crashes involving semi-trucks have occurred. The latest occurred on March 26. 

Speed and rain have been mostly to blame on the previous crashes. 

RELATED: I-5 work zone in Tacoma ‘absolutely safe’ despite crashes, state says