Construction projects, airshow to impact Tacoma drivers

TACOMA, Wash. -- The Washington Department of Transportation is working two major projects near the Tacoma area that will impact numerous drivers.

Starting Friday at 10 p.m. until Monday at 5 a.m. several lanes of Interstate 5 and part of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge will be closed.

The repaving projects coincide with the JBLM Airshow and Warrior Expo.

“It’s going to be really, really frustrating,” said one Tacoma driver.

Along Interstate 5 the overhead signs have been warning drivers about the upcoming project where two southbound lanes of the freeway will be shut down all weekend long.

“So everything is just going to be jammed packed the whole time,” said Frankie Moreno, who lives in the Tacoma area.

“It’s definitely going to back up everything here, so it’s just going to be tough,” said Marc Pupo, who lives in Fife.

It’ll be tough going for drivers as WSDOT repaves 1,200 feet of old concrete on the southbound side of the freeway, between Portland Avenue and M Street.

The repaving is something WSDOT engineers say is long overdue.

“The reason for this closure is that we’ve got lanes to redo that have been there since the days of black and white TV,” said Brenden Clarke, a project engineer for WSDOT.

At the same time, westbound lanes of SR 16 over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge will be detoured into the eastbound lanes, which will only allow for two lanes of traffic in each direction.

Crews plan to use the entire weekend to repave the westbound lanes.

“I don’t honestly see any way around that if they have to get this work done,” said a driver in Tacoma, who is preparing to deal with the traffic over the weekend as he travels south.

WSDOT said both projects happened to fall on the same weekend, and both need to be completed.

All of this work comes on the same weekend of the JBLM Airshow and Warrior Expo.

During the airshow, 112th Street between Steele Street and South Tacoma Way will be closed to traffic.

“I’d just say everybody try to be patient over this weekend and not blow a gasket,” suggested one driver who knows it will get bad for motorists.

Many drivers in the Tacoma area are already thinking about ways to avoid the mess, while others have no choice and are preparing to brave the congestion.

“I say give yourself an hour, like going to the airport, give yourself a couple of hours head start or plan some other things to do,” said Pupo.

WSDOT is schedule to reopen all lanes on I5 and SR 16 by Monday morning.

They did say if work is done ahead of schedule, they’ll open the roadways early