I-5 lane-splitting barriers near Tacoma Dome finally gone

TACOMA, Wash. — The Interstate 5 split in Tacoma finally gone Tuesday.

Contractor crews began removing the barriers Monday night that have been dividing southbound traffic since summer 2017.

They've sent traffic in the left lanes toward South 56th Street while traffic in the right lanes exited to state Routes 7 and 16, Interstate 705 and South 38th Street.

The diversion has been part of the M Street to Portland Avenue HOV project on I-5.

During the months-long project, crews removed and replaced the concrete roadbed on I-5 that dated to the freeway's original construction, according to WSDOT.

Drivers though had to deal with the confusion and delays in an area already known for backups.

"I make that commute and I leave at 4:30 and there's traffic, bumper to bumper, and in the last few years it seems like it's gotten worse," said commuter Blake Bidleman.

Now that the barriers are gone, crews will move on to the next phase of construction, including the new HOV connector from State Route 16 to NB I-5.

KIRO 7 Reporter Patranya Bhoolsuwan is explaining how that road work, coming up this summer, is expected to bring a new set of traffic headaches. She's live on air until 7 a.m.