TACOMA, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Transportation was late reopening all southbound lanes on I-5 in Tacoma as part of a new traffic shift that was supposed to start Wednesday morning at South 38th Street.
All lanes of southbound I-5 through Tacoma and from eastbound State Route 16 to southbound I-5 didn’t reopen until around 9 a.m., four hours behind the scheduled 5 a.m. reopening.
By 8 a.m., what is usually a 10-minute drive from Federal Way to Tacoma was taking drivers an hour, according to WSDOT.
Cara Mitchell with WSDOT told KIRO 7 that the delay was in part caused by a minor traffic collision that happened in the work zone late Tuesday night. It did not involve a WSDOT crew but added to cleanup time.
WSDOT staff said they will be talking with the contractor Wednesday to find out more on why the delay was so extensive.
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WSDOT moved all the southbound lanes over to run next to the northbound lanes to make room for a new work zone for the I-5 State Route 16 HOV connector project. WSDOT said the shift was "very large in scope."
Drivers can no longer access South 38th Street and instead will be detoured about a mile to South 56th.
The traffic shift will stay in place until the end of the year.
A blog from WSDOT said, in part:
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