Traffic

More I-5 lane shifts in the works, this time near the Tacoma Mall

It’s a story of get a little, give a little on southbound Interstate 5 near the Tacoma Mall.

As early as Saturday, Sept. 21, crews will open a new auxiliary lane between South 38th and South 56th streets, according to the state Department of Transportation.

“The new lane will give South 38th Street travelers a dedicated lane to merge onto southbound I-5,” the department said in a news release.

That’s the good news.

The bad: The far left lane along that same stretch of southbound I-5 will close.

“This closure creates a median work zone allowing crews to construct two HOV sign structures, one of the final steps toward opening HOV connections between I-5 and state Route 16,” the department reported. “The left lane closure will be in place, around-the-clock, for approximately six weeks or until the work is finished.”

With the temporary configuration, southbound I-5 past the mall will have three general purpose lanes plus the new auxiliary lane.

That portion of freeway averages about 100,000 cars a day, so delays are expected.

The work is weather-dependent, so it could be put off a week or so.

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Adam Lynn is the local news editor and writes the Traffic Q&A column for The News Tribune. He has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years, most of it in Washington state.
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