Pierce County’s decade-old HOV project is about to enter its home stretch. But don’t expect to use those diamond lanes until fall of 2021.
In February, a contractor for the state Department of Transportation will begin widening Interstate 5 between the Tacoma Dome and the Puyallup River to make room for the new HOV lanes.
In order to accomplish that a new bridge to carry the southbound lanes of I-5 will be built. Then, the old bridges will be demolished.
The final $324 million segment between the Dome and the Port of Tacoma Road is part of the $1.6 billion overall project which is adding the HOV lanes in Pierce County and essentially rebuilding stretches of I-5, WSDOT said.
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Once this final segment is completed, HOV lanes will open in both directions of I-5 through Tacoma. Carpools and buses will be able to travel on HOV lanes from Gig Harbor to Everett, WSDOT said.
Narrowed lanes — from 12 feet to 11 feet — on other segments of the ongoing road construction project through Tacoma have led to numerous crashes involving semi-trucks. The most recent was on Wednesday.
During the project, I-5 drivers can expect:
▪ Narrowed and shifted lanes and ramps.
▪ Demolition of the L Street overpass and construction of a new overpass.
▪ Nighttime lane and ramp closures.
▪ Occasional weekend and longer ramp closures.
The HOV lane construction project in Pierce County began in 2009.