Local Information

New HOV lanes now open on the I-5 and SR 16 interchange in Tacoma

Thursday, November 21, 2019 - 07:57

Cara Mitchell, communications, 360-357-2703

TACOMA – Morning commuters are now using new high-occupancy vehicle lanes on the Interstate 5/State Route 16 interchange in Tacoma’s Nalley Valley.

This morning, Thursday, Nov. 21, Washington State Department of Transportation’s contractor Skanska opened the southbound Interstate 5 HOV connection to westbound State Route 16.

This major milestone will help increase safety, improve mobility and reduce congestion in Pierce County.

“Opening the southbound I-5 HOV connection to SR 16, brings added capacity to a location on I-5 that sees congestion from traffic merging to SR 16 and from I-705,” said WSDOT Assistant Region Administrator for Construction MaryLou Nebergall.

Vanpools, carpools, buses and other vehicles carrying two or more people can now access the dedicated HOV lane on the left side of southbound I-5 just past the Pacific Avenue overpass to westbound SR 16.

For people who are using the new HOV lanes on the interchange, there is no access to the Sprague Avenue or Union Avenue exits.

Next steps

Over the next few days, construction crews will finish striping and installing barrier on the remaining three HOV connections. Weather permitting, the contractor anticipates opening the connections as early as Saturday, Nov. 23:

  • Eastbound SR 16 HOV to northbound and southbound I-5 HOV
  • Northbound I-5 HOV to westbound SR 16 HOV

If weather interferes with opening the remaining HOV connections on Nov. 23, the next target date is Dec. 6.

WSDOT recently created a video to show travelers how the HOV connections will work.

As a reminder, travelers who use the HOV connection from the SR 16 HOV lane to northbound I-5 HOV lane will temporarily merge into mainline traffic near the Yakima Avenue overpass. This configuration will remain in place until the southbound I-5 Puyallup River Bridge project is complete, in late 2021. At that time, the entire HOV system will be open, with HOV lanes extending from Gig Harbor on SR 16, onto I-5 through Tacoma and Fife and continuing through King County.

Visit the Tacomatraffic.com webpage for updated HOV construction information. Real-time traveler information is available from the WSDOT app and the WSDOT regional Twitter feed.

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