Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, was on hand last week as construction officially got underway to rebuild and improve the Interstate 5/State Route 16 interchange. This span of road serves more than 131,000 vehicles each day as one of the state’s busiest crossroads.
The project will replace the existing eastbound structure spanning the Nalley Valley and complete the SR 16/Sprague Avenue interchange. The first portion of the interchange overhaul, the westbound Nalley Valley viaduct, opened in June.
“This is an absolutely critical project for our area,” Conway said. “It will speed up commutes, commerce and provide family wage jobs for the men and women working on it. Infrastructure projects like Nalley Valley are exactly what we need in these tough economic times.”
Approximately 650 jobs are expected to be created by the 2½-year, $115 million project.
“This is an important project,” said Greg Pindras of Mowat Construction Co., a resident contractor based in Woodinville. “It means two years of steady employment for our construction crews. That’s good for us, good for them and good for local businesses. We’re ready to get started.”
During construction, drivers will experience traffic adjustments similar to the Westbound Nalley Valley project. Motorists will see realigned and narrowed lanes, night lane and ramp closures and limited closures of all lanes on eastbound SR 16 when cranes lift girders for the new viaduct.
Like its sister westbound viaduct, the new eastbound viaduct will serve all traffic and is a precursor to future HOV lanes that will be built through the Nalley Valley in 2020. The project is paid for with state gas-tax increases in 2003 and 2005, as well as federal stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The I-5/SR 16 – Eastbound Nalley Valley project is part of WSDOT’s Tacoma/Pierce County HOV Program, adding 70 HOV lane miles on state highways in Pierce County. Those interested in following construction progress on the eastbound project are encouraged to subscribe to WSDOT’s Eastbound Nalley Valley email update service.
*From left to right: Senator Steve Conway, Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond, Olympic Region Administrator Kevin Dayton, Mowat Construction's Greg Pindras and State Patrol Captain Jeff DeVere break ground on the Nalley Valley eastbound viaduct. (Photo courtesy of WSDOT)