Drivers on southbound Interstate 5 heading to the mall and surrounding businesses in Tacoma will find the South 38th Street exit (#132A) closed starting at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, April 20. The exit will remain closed through July.
During the extended closure, crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will demolish the existing ramp and connect a new ramp that will accommodate the eastbound State Route 16 viaduct currently under construction.
“We know this long ramp closure is an inconvenience,” said Kevin Dayton, WSDOT Olympic region administrator. “We’ve done all the work we can do while keeping the exit open to traffic. We appreciate everybody’s patience while we work as fast as possible to complete and reopen the new ramp.”
Preparatory work for the lengthy closure requires full closures of eastbound SR 16 and some area ramps. The closures are scheduled as follows:
• 11 p.m. Monday, April 15, to 4 a.m. Tuesday, April 16: Closing all eastbound SR 16 lanes at Union Avenue. Closing Union Avenue on-ramp to eastbound SR 16.
• 11 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, to 4 a.m. Wednesday, April 17: Closing all eastbound SR 16 lanes at Union Avenue. Closing Union Avenue on-ramp to eastbound SR 16.
• 10 p.m. Friday, April 19, to 7:30 a.m. Saturday, April 20: Closing one southbound lane of I-5 between I-705 and SR 16. The southbound I-5 exit to westbound SR 16 will remain open.
• 12:01 a.m. Saturday, April 20: Closing southbound I-5 exit to South 38th Street (Exit #132A). The closure will remain in effect through July.
• 12:01 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Saturday, April 20 Also closing southbound I-5 exit to westbound SR 16 (Exit #132B). Motorists will be detoured via the South 56th Street interchange.
• 10 p.m. Saturday, April 20, to 9 a.m. Sunday, April 21: Closing all eastbound SR 16 lanes at Union Avenue. Closing Union Avenue on-ramp to eastbound SR 16.
WSDOT will provide a signed detour directing motorists to exit I-5 at South 56th Street, re-enter northbound I-5, and to access South 38th Street from northbound I-5. With the exception of six hours early Saturday morning, April 20, the southbound I-5 exit to westbound SR 16 (#132B) will remain open.
Drivers can expect congestion on I-5 in the vicinity of SR 16 during the closure, especially between 3 and 6 p.m. on weekdays. To keep traffic moving, WSDOT encourages motorists to alter their routes and travel times if possible. Up to 9,000 drivers use the South 38th Street exit each day.
The work is part of the $115 million SR 16 Eastbound Nalley Valley project that is scheduled for completion in mid- 2014.