Monday, March 9, 2020

Construction at Thorne Lane reaches new heights

By Cara Mitchell

Now that the new Berkeley Street overpass is open to the majority of travelers in Lakewood, construction at Thorne Lane is shifting into high gear. The existing overpass at Thorne Lane is being replaced, not by one, but two new bridges. In fact, one is already finished. The second overpass, which is almost 24-feet tall and spans all lanes of I-5 and the railroad, will open in late spring, weather permitting. Replacement of both overpasses is necessary as crews continue to widen I-5 between Steilacoom-DuPont Road and Thorne Lane.

To make this happen, travelers who use the I-5/Thorne Lane interchange to reach Union Avenue in the Tillicum neighborhood, or Murray Road to reach 146th Street Southwest in the Woodbrook neighborhood, will see long local street closures and detours.

Two-week closure of 146th Street Southwest
At 9 p.m., Saturday, March 14, design-build contractor Guy F. Atkinson Construction will close 146th Street Southwest at Murray Road around-the-clock until March 28. During that time, crews will build new curbs and sidewalks at the intersection of Murray Road and 146th Street Southwest. During the closure, drivers will detour using Spring Street Southwest and 150th Street Southwest.

New roundabout opens
If the weather allows, during the overnight hours of Saturday, March 14, construction crews will open the newly realigned northbound I-5 exit to Thorne Lane and the new roundabout. During the overnight work, the following closures will occur for paving and striping:
  • Northbound I-5 exit to Thorne Lane will close from 10:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, March 15
  • Thorne Lane on-ramp to northbound I-5 will close from 10:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, March 15
  • Single-lane alternating traffic on Murray Road at the new roundabout from 10 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, March 15
Once fully open, the new roundabout will bring a continuous flow of traffic that will move through the intersection more quickly. Studies show that roundabouts lead to a 20-percent reduction in delays.  Anyone who uses the Thorne Lane interchange knows just how long the signals cycle through. Replacing them with roundabouts will be a huge improvement.

Union Avenue closed until late May
As long as all ramp connections at the new Berkeley Street overpass are open, as early as 8 a.m. on Monday, March 16, a one-block section of Union Avenue will close between Spruce Street and Thorne Lane.

The closure allows construction crews to raise the profile of Union Avenue over 23 feet so the street can connect with the new Thorne Lane overpass. The around-the-clock closure will be in place until the end of May.

During the closure, travelers will detour on Thorne Lane to Portland Avenue and to Berkeley Street. The I-5/Thorne Lane interchange will remain open during daytime hours.

With all of the closures and detours, planning for extra travel time during your commute is highly advised. We will work through this next phase of construction as efficiently and quickly as possible.

There will be a lot of changes in 2020 for both of these intersections. We appreciate your continued patience while crews finish this important work. Please continue to watch your speed in work zones and give construction crews the room they need to finish this important project.

Follow the latest closure and detour information for all Pierce County maintenance and construction projects online at


Max Kuenkel said...

I would like to see a simulated picture of the 2 new bridges at exit 123, to understand how they connect with local roads (or with each other). Your blog post does not explain the northern one (of the two new bridges at exit 123). I can't find any pictures or explanations anywhere.

Max Kuenkel said...

When I posted my above comment in July, I did not find any picture (anywhere) that shows and explains the larger concept of the two new bridges at exit 123 (there was a partial explanation of the new southern bridge at exit 123, but no explanation of the new northern bridge at exit 123, and no mention at all of what is to happen with the current (old) bridge at exit 123 (how it fits in with the two new bridges next to it).
It is now three months later, and I just now found the kind of picture I was looking for. This picture shows the larger concept: what the purpose of the two new bridges is at exit 123, and what the role of the old bridge at exit 123 is (apparently, the old bridge is slated for demolition: I learned this INDIRECTLY only, from studying the picture below: the old bridge is gone in the picture).

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