Friday, April 19, 2019

Noticeable progress on I-5 construction near JBLM

By Lauren Wheeler

Spring is here bringing longer days, warmer weather and increased progress on improvements along the I-5 corridor near Lakewood and Joint Base Lewis-McChord as part of the I-5 - Steilacoom-DuPont Road to Thorne Lane Corridor Improvements project.

Construction on the Berkeley Street overpass, also known as the Freedom Bridge, began in October 2018, and the tell-tale signs of the new structure are noticeable to travelers on I-5. Crews installed off-ramp and bridge piers, poured bridge abutment structures, and just recently installed the bridge’s 35 girders to support the new overpass deck.

The new overpass spans all lanes of I-5 and the adjacent rail line, elevating traffic over the trains. The size of the new overpass is eye opening compared to the existing structure that was built in 1954. This new overpass had to meet height requirements over the railroad. Crews will also raise the elevation of I-5 at Berkeley Street; once in place, it won’t make the new bridge feel so tall. Once the new overpass is opened to traffic, it will have two lanes in each direction with a large shared use path and bike lanes.

The new Berkeley Street interchange is scheduled to open this winter.
Bridge girders on the new Berkeley Street overpass spanning I-5 in Lakewood

Meanwhile, at Thorne Lane
While construction on the Berkeley Street overpass carries on, Thorne Lane construction has kicked into high gear. Crews are clearing the project site to where bridge support structures will be built. They’ve also begun constructing noise walls adjacent to northbound I-5 from 41st Division Drive to Berkeley Street, and along southbound I-5 adjacent to the Thorne Lane interchange. Crews are also widening I-5 to add one lane in each direction and additional auxiliary lanes to add capacity and improve traffic flow.
The new overpasses being built at Berkeley Street and Thorne Lane are much wider and taller than the existing overpasses.

Contractor Guy F. Atkinson are working hard to minimize traffic affects and road closures for this project. Most work happens at night and the new overpasses are built next to the existing overpasses. Expect to see continued overnight ramp and lane closures and be alert for signed detours.

The new Thorne Lane interchange is expected to open in summer 2020 and the final traffic configuration for this project is scheduled to be in place in fall 2020.


runWilly said...

I have not seen any news or plans for the new pedestrian pathway between Tillicum and Gravelly Lake Dr SW. I was told by a Sound Transit employee that this path has been surveyed and will be completed 4Q2019. Is this true?

WSDOT said...


The Gravelly-Thorne Connector and Shared Use Path are not on the construction schedule until 2022. Information about future phases of construction can be found here:

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