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Stage 1b – Design Features

Construction Overview

The following pages describe the primary work zones (active construction areas where crews will work with large machinery) along with the schedule for each zone, so you know what to expect whether you are travelling through the area or live or work nearby.

Stage 1b: What’s Under Construction?

Note: This page describes key features of the project. The designs presented are renderings which may vary slightly from final designs.

WSDOT crews will begin construction of the new 2-mile tolled expressway linking Interstate 5 to State Route 509 at the intersection of Alexander Avenue East near the Port of Tacoma, as well as a new local access roundabout interchange at 54th Avenue East.

WSDOT will build two miles of new expressway between I-5 and the Port of Tacoma. The new four-lane elevated highway will be called an expressway, and will complete a critical link in Washington’s transportation network by connecting I-5, SR 509 and SR 167.

The new roundabout at 54th Avenue East will provide new access to and from the new SR 167 expressway to the east of 54th Avenue. The project also includes roadway enhancements that improve safety and access for community members who walk, ride, and roll, such as new sidewalks and a new 2.5 mile shared-use path from SR 99 to Alexander Avenue East.

The new 54th Avenue East roundabout will provide a local access interchange to the eastern portion of the Port of Tacoma and the northeast Tacoma area.

WSDOT will demolish the old 70th Avenue East bridge to partially complete the new diverging diamond interchange (DDI), which will link the interstate to the SR 167 Expressway to the north only. When the full interchange is complete following Stage 2 in 2028, it will create new connections between SR 167 and I-5 through on- and off-ramps to and from the south.

After construction is complete in 2028, travelers can access to northbound I-5 from eastbound SR 167 and access westbound SR 167 from southbound I-5.

Throughout this phase of construction, WSDOT will develop the Riparian Restoration Program (RRP). This program will restore approximately 150 acres of wetland and natural stream channels by rerouting the Hylebos Creek and planting over 430,000 new native species in the area, improving natural habitats for local ecosystems. The environmental uplift of habitats along Hylebos Creek and surrounding tributaries will support WSDOT’s efforts towards climate resiliency, especially as it relates to floodplain management. As the RRP restores land altered by previous use, it will remove invasive weeds and floodplain fill and revegetate with native trees and shrubs. The RRP will therefore function as a natural stream and floodplain system that will improve water quality and wildlife habitat and will help prevent flooding of I-5 in Fife along the Hylebos Creek. Following completion, 116 acres of land will be returned to the Puyallup Tribe of Indians for environmental stewardship and preservation.

When the RRP is finalized, portions of this area may resemble the following rendering:

The Riparian Restoration Project will restore the Hylebos Creek through native vegetation, reestablishing natural habitats and wetlands. This image is a cross-section rendering of the project portion between SR 99 and I-5.

54th Ave East Roundabout

WSDOT will build a new roundabout interchange at 54th Avenue East, to connect local traffic to and from the new expressway, west of Interstate 5. Although roundabouts can be tricky for motorists who don’t frequently use them, a few simple tips can help to navigate them:

  1. Drive the speed limit! The curves and turns required to move through a roundabout necessitate motorists travel at a designated speed to move safely and efficiently.
  2. Allow trucks to go first. Washington State law allows commercial vehicles “to deviate from the lane in which the operator is driving to the extent necessary to approach and drive through a circular intersection” (RCW 46.25.140). Yielding to large trucks will allow commercial vehicles the space needed to navigate the roundabout and will help keep traffic moving safely through the intersection. 
WSDOT will build a new roundabout interchange at 54th Avenue East, to connect local traffic to and from the new expressway, west of I-5.

Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI)

State Route 167 will connect to Interstate 5 with a new diverging diamond interchange (DDI) with ramps to and from the north. WSDOT will demolish the existing 70th Avenue East overpass to make room for the new I-5/SR 167 DDI. WSDOT will construct initial DDI ramps to and from the north in Stage 1b and complete the remaining ramps and signals required for the DDI in Stage 2. The rendering below depicts how the new interchange will connect SR 167 to I-5 and SR 509 once completed in Stage 2.

 After construction is complete in 2028, travelers can access northbound I-5 from eastbound SR 167 and access westbound SR 167 from southbound I-5.

Diverging diamond interchanges improve driver and pedestrian safety, increase travel efficiency, and take up a smaller footprint. WSDOT is committed to providing outreach and education to community members on DDI use prior to opening any new DDI. For more information on how to safely drive, walk, roll, or ride through diverging diamond interchanges, check out WSDOT’s DDI safety guidance.