22 years of construction on I-5 in Tacoma wraps up with opening of HOV lanes this weekend

TACOMA, Wash. — After more than two decades of work, construction on Interstate 5 in Tacoma is finally wrapping up.

The completion of HOV lanes in Tacoma this weekend will be the end of a 22-year project to build carpool lanes between I-5, state Route 16 and state Route 167 in Pierce County.

A section of the new carpool lane on southbound I-5 opened on Friday morning. Crews worked overnight to remove barriers and finish painting. The newly opened section runs from Port of Tacoma Road in Fife to the SR 16 interchange in Tacoma.

The northbound HOV lane from SR 16 to King County will be open by Saturday morning.

On Sunday morning, the southbound HOV lane will be open from King County to SR 16.

Drivers will then be able to use the HOV lanes in both directions from Tacoma to King County, making commutes easier.

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, one location that drivers will see noticeable improvements is from eastbound SR 16 to northbound I-5, where drivers in the HOV lane have been forced to merge with traffic in the general-purpose lanes, sometimes causing significant backups.

Once the final section of HOV lanes open, that merge will go away.

The I-5 - SR 16 Tacoma/Pierce County HOV Program has spanned 22 years at a cost of $1.4 billion.