Truckers can expect delays and a “significant increase in traffic” on the streets of Federal Way Washington.
According to the Washington State Dept. of Transportation, the ramp from westbound Highway 18 to northbound Interstate 5 closed Aug. 8 and will remain closed through Sept. 1. The ramp from Weyerhaeuser Way to westbound Highway 18 will be closed until later this month, according to WSDOT.
The closures are part of the ongoing $112.5 million Triangle Project, which refers to the interchange in Federal Way where Highway 161 (Enchanted Parkway), Highway 18 and I-5 all meet. The interchange has long held a reputation for being dangerous for drivers. Federal Way and King County officials have been working to fund the project for more than a decade.
“This is going to be a major road closure,” Jessie Hannahs, a senior traffic engineer for Federal Way told the Federal Way Mirror. “Unlike past closures of ramps, this one will be a 24/7 closure. In the past, they have been just nighttime closures.”
A signed detour route will take drivers needing to get on northbound I-5 onto Pacific Highway South and then to S. 320th St., bringing hundreds of vehicles through the city’s streets.
The project will modify the I-5/Highway 18 interchange to eliminate weaving vehicle movements. The project is expected to improve existing and future traffic flow; reduce the number and severity of accidents in the vicinity of I-5, Highway 161 and Highway 18; and avoid or reduce the effects on the environment, according to the Mirror report.
The existing loop ramps are substandard and are high-accident locations, Paula Hammond, WSDOT secretary told the paper. In the past five years, 604 accidents have occurred on Highway 18 near the I-5 interchange.