Traffic

It’s a dark drive between Tacoma and Gig Harbor on Route 16. The state explains why

Many lights along SR-16 in Tacoma are dark

While a few lights are out on the Gig Harbor side, most of the lights along SR-16 between the Jackson Avenue overpass and the South 19th street overpass in Tacoma are not working.
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While a few lights are out on the Gig Harbor side, most of the lights along SR-16 between the Jackson Avenue overpass and the South 19th street overpass in Tacoma are not working.

Q: Why has the state not replaced the many (20-40) burned-out lights on state Route 16 between Cheney Stadium and Wollochet Drive in Gig Harbor? — Jim T.

A: In his missive to Traffic Q&A headquarters, Jim pointed out the condition is “very dangerous, especially in the dark, rainy weather times.”

“This has existed for over a year with no evidence of any effort to change the lights,” he said.

We put the question to Cara Mitchell, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.

“The lights are out due to repeated wire theft,” Mitchell said in an email. “WSDOT has tried numerous ways to deter this issue, such as welding electrical boxes shut, implementing different types of surveillance and working with law enforcement.”

Apparently, those measures have not deterred those willing to risk electrocution for some wiring to sell.

Mitchell went on to expound on freeway lighting in general.

“Separate to this on-going issue, WSDOT is in the process of re-evaluating highway lighting needs through greater Puget Sound based on criteria such as roadway geography, motorists’ decision points, etc.,” she said via email.

That includes identifying spots along Route 16 where “lighting is warranted,” Mitchell added.

“Once those locations are identified, those locations will be restored as resources allow,” she said. “Meanwhile, our crews continue to re-establish power to critical areas such as the 19th Street interchange as resources allow.”

As resources allow ...

Sounds like it might be a dark drive between T-town and the Harbor for a while yet, Jim.

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