Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Art coming to life on Tacoma HOV project

By Cara Mitchell

Over the years as the Tacoma/Pierce County HOV program has progressed, we have shared a lot about closures, long bridge girders, and other significant updates. Writing about an art project hasn’t bubbled up to the top of the list, until now. The work we are getting ready to do on East 28th Street in Tacoma is exciting and meaningful to a lot of people, and to us. 

In the coming weeks, construction crews will begin to install hundreds of custom panels that will cover a wall that feature juvenile and adult salmon artwork. We worked closely with our tribal partners, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, on this art display. The work is part of a Public Art Plan included in the I-5 Portland Avenue to Port of Tacoma Road Southbound HOV project. The design features four juvenile salmon and one adult salmon, swimming in water, framed by a random board pattern used elsewhere in the I-5 corridor in Tacoma.

These graphics are an example of how custom panels will be used to show juvenile and
adult salmon on a wall adjacent to East 28th Street in Tacoma.

The art is inspired by the Lushootseed traditional narrative, skʷikʷ(ə)xʷic – The Little Silver Salmon, and his journey through the river. The salmon artwork is provided by the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. The entire display will be in one color, with a mixture of textures and different parts of the design raised to provide contrast. The wall is located directly across from Puyallup Tribal Trust lands where the Tribe’s Administration building, Elder’s Center, Justice Center and the Cushman Indian Cemetery are located.  

The concrete wall that the panels will be attached to is a large bridge abutment that was finished in 2012 for the new northbound I-5 Puyallup River Bridge. Now that we are finishing the last project on I-5 in the Tacoma/Pierce County HOV program, crews are installing the finalized artwork. We are grateful to have the Puyallup Tribe of Indians with us on this journey of rebuilding the I-5 Puyallup River Bridges and finishing the Tacoma/Pierce County HOV Program.

The orange dot on the map shows the location of the concrete wall where crews will install hundreds of panels depicting juvenile and adult salmon. The concrete wall is shown in the photo above. The structure is
part of the northbound I-5 Puyallup River Bridge.

Shifted lane, work zone

Drivers will see temporary barrier and a shifted lane on East 28th Street as they approach East Bay Street and River Road. The barrier creates a work zone so crews can adjust drainage at the base of the wall, construct footings and install the concrete art panels. The existing shoulder barrier will need to be removed and replaced during this work.

The Puyallup Tribal Wall Public Art Plan installation is expected to finish later this summer. The entire I-5 Tacoma HOV program is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022.