You can't drive I-5 tonight, but when it reopens Tuesday those annoying barriers will finally be gone

The Interstate 5 split goes away for good Tuesday. But first, the freeway south through Tacoma needs to close for a few hours.

Contractor crews will begin removing Monday night the barriers that have been dividing southbound traffic since summer 2017. They've sent traffic in the left lanes toward South 56th Street while traffic in the right lanes exited to state Routes 7 and 16, Interstate 705 and South 38th Street.

The diversion has been part of the M Street to Portland Avenue HOV project on I-5.

Monday night, contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will finish removing the barriers that created the diversion from L Street to SR 16.

That will require all traffic to be diverted off of southbound I-5 for about five hours starting 11 p.m. Monday.

The schedule:

At 8:30 p.m., crews will close the southbound I-5 collector/distributor lanes (the southbound exit to SR 16, SR 7, I-705 and 26th Street, and the Portland Avenue and SR 167 on-ramps to southbound I-5.) Drivers bound for those exits will detour onto South 56th Street and then head north on I-5.

At 8:30 p.m., the northbound SR 7, southbound I-705 and Pacific Avenue on-ramps to southbound I-5 will close until 11 p.m.

At 11 p.m., all lanes of southbound I-5 will be reduced to a single lane and detoured at exit 135 to Portland Avenue. Drivers will detour to SR 509, and I-705, and back to southbound I-5, until 4 a.m. Tuesday.

At 4 a.m. Tuesday, the two right lanes of southbound I-5 will open. The two left lanes will remain closed until 6 a.m.

During the months-long project crews removed and replaced the concrete roadbed on I-5 that dated to the freeway's original construction, according to WSDOT.

With this phase complete, the new McKinley Way/D Street overpass can be finished, WSDOT said.

Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541, @crsailor