Tacoma area lawmaker watching closely over crash-magnet section of I-5

TACOMA, Wash. – Last week another big-rig crashed along I-5 through Tacoma. It was just the latest in a long string of crashes that have sometimes crippled traffic.

Troopers say the majority of the crashes have been the driver’s fault.

But we wanted to know from law enforcement and the department of transportation: what else is being done to prevent crashes in this area?

Last March the Washington State Patrol hit this area hard with a well-publicized effort to teach drivers to travel safely in this area. Troopers say they are continuing that effort but they’re not publicizing the emphasis.

Plus, year to year, the state patrol says it has doubled the number of drivers it has contacted along this stretch of road.

Meanwhile, the Washington State Department of Transportation says the lanes are 11-feet wide and the freeway is built to both state and federal guidelines. WSDOT insists I-5 through Tacoma is safe.

“Absolutely it’s safe,” said WSDOT’s Cara Mitchell in March. She reiterated the statement to Q13 News on Monday. “It’s built to state and federal standards. Over 200,000 drivers a day use I-5 successfully through there.”

The continued issues here along the freeway also has the attention of a local lawmaker who tells us he’s in close contact with WSDOT and WSP. The lawmaker told Q13 News if the problem persists, he plans to work at the legislature to find a solution.