Thursday, June 7, 2018

Fresh paint brings new lane configurations on I-5 near DuPont

By Cara Mitchell

Travelers who use the Center Drive on-ramp to southbound Interstate 5 will soon see a change in how they merge onto the highway.

As early as next week, contractor crews working on the I-5 - Mounts Rd. to Center Dr. Auxiliary Lane Extension project will stripe southbound I-5 to its final configuration of four lanes from the Center Drive overpass, with the lanes tapering to three near Mounts Road.

This change adds some capacity to the interstate at this location. It also means that travelers entering southbound from Center Drive will need to merge left twice before reaching the Mounts Road exit. Currently drivers only merge left once.

This work will require a series of overnight lane and ramp closures on southbound I-5 between Center Drive and Mounts Road.

Crews will begin their work near the Mounts Road on-ramp to southbound I-5 and continue their way north towards the Center Drive overpass. Each night will involve a different section of southbound I-5 and associated ramps. Rain could reschedule the work.

One down, three to go
The auxiliary lane extension project is the first of a four staged construction project that widens nearly 8 miles of I-5 and rebuilds three interchanges between Mounts Road and Gravelly Lake Drive in Pierce County.
The northbound I-5 auxiliary lane opened to traffic in November 2017. As early as the week of June 11,
southbound I-5 will be restriped to its final configuration.

In 2017, I-5 was widened between Center Drive and Mounts Road to extend a northbound auxiliary lane from Mounts Road to Steilacoom-DuPont Road. This work required all lanes of I-5 between Center Drive and Mounts Road to temporarily shift toward the right shoulders, thus creating a work zone in the center median for the project.

In November 2017, the northbound lanes of I-5 were striped into their permanent configuration and the new auxiliary lane opened to traffic. The wet winter weather prevented final striping in the southbound direction. After the southbound striping and final signage is installed, the auxiliary lane extension project will be complete.

The second stage of construction that rebuilds the Berkeley Street and Thorne Lane interchanges and widens I-5 just north of Steilacoom-DuPont Road to Thorne Lane will begin early fall.