Traffic Problem Solving
A Third Bridge???
The Tacoma Narrows Bridge, located on State Route 16 ("SR 16"), is part of a corridor of strategic importance for the State of Washington and the nation. SR 16, which is a part of the National Highway System, is the only land link across the Puget Sound, serving the transportation needs of the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas and is the primary access route to the Trident submarine base at Bangor and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton.
The purpose and need for the Project are:
The project scope includes a 3.4-mile segment of SR 16 extending from the Jackson Avenue interchange in Tacoma to a new interchange at 24th/36th Streets in western Pierce County. The new suspension bridge will be built parallel to and south of the existing Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and will have a total length of 5,400 feet. The new suspension bridge will provide three standard width lanes for eastbound traffic, with shoulders and a separated bike / pedestrian pathway. The new bridge will be designed to accommodate a second deck in the future. This is a landmark project. With a center length span of 2,800 feet, the new bridge represents the longest suspension bridge to be built in the United States since the Verrazano Narrows Bridge was opened in 1964.
The existing bridge, completed in 1950, will undergo a reconfiguration and seismic upgrade program. The present bridge configuration provides for two non-standard lanes in each direction, with metal grates between lanes, no central divider, and lacks shoulders. The bridge will be reconfigured to provide three standard width lanes for westbound traffic only, with a uniform driving surface and an exterior shoulder.
SR 16 will be improved by adding one lane in each direction within the Project boundaries, and new interchanges to improve highway access will be built. A new toll plaza equipped with both manual and high-speed electronic tolling collection capabilities will be built on the west-side approach to collect tolls on the eastbound traffic only. The toll plaza will include a high-speed open-highway electronic tolling system on the three main eastbound lanes, allowing drivers to be tolled without slowing down. The system will be based on Automatic Vehicle Identification technology complemented with a Violation Enforcement System.
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