Traffic

Southbound I-5 will get local/express division in Tacoma

Southbound Interstate 5 traffic through Tacoma will be split into local and express lanes, starting Wednesday.
Southbound Interstate 5 traffic through Tacoma will be split into local and express lanes, starting Wednesday. jbessex@gateline.com

With northbound Interstate 5 in Tacoma now using a new bridge over Interstate 705, a second major change is about to alter freeway traffic for months.

Next up: Southbound I-5 is about to transition to divided local and express lanes through Tacoma. After a one-day delay to finish changing signage, the shift will happen this week, with overnight work Tuesday (July 11).

The newly divided freeway, split by concrete barricades, will greet Wednesday morning’s commuters, starting at the Puyallup River bridge.

On its left side: three lanes for through traffic bound for South Tacoma, Lakewood, DuPont and southward toward Olympia.

On the right: two collector/distributor lanes from which local traffic can exit to I-705, state routes 7 and 16, and South 38th Street at the Tacoma Mall interchange.

The state Department of Transportation posted a video to YouTube to illustrate the changes for southbound motorists.

The division of the heavily trafficked stretch of interstate will continue through the end of the year, and possibly longer if there are notable weather delays.

According to the Transportation Department, the lane division will give workers more room to do construction on the McKinley Street overpass and outside lanes of the southbound freeway.

Derrick Nunnally: 253-597-8693, @dcnunnally

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