Legal Speed-Limit Reductions Coming to I-5 in Washington Beginning April 17

Washington I-5 Construction | I-5 Traffic | I-5 Exit Guide

As construction on the new Veterans Drive Tunnel near Kent and Des Moines inches closer to completion, legal speed limits on northbound Interstate 5 will lower temporarily, replacing the advisory speed limit currently in place.

On Wednesday, April 17, the Washington State Department of Transportation will post a temporary 50 mph speed limit on northbound I-5 near State Route 516/Kent Des Moines Road between milepost 148 (South 272nd Street or exit 147) and milepost 151 (South 200th Street/Military Road South or exit 151).

The lower speed limit will be regulatory instead of advisory, meaning drivers can be cited by Washington State Patrol for speeding through this area. Traffic fines double in work zones. The temporary lower speed limit is expected to be in place through July.

The speed reduction allows construction crews to work safely in the median of I-5 as they build the Veterans Drive Tunnel under northbound I-5. Creating the larger, safer work zone requires shifting the northbound HOV lane into a barrier-protected lane on the southbound side of I-5. General-purpose lanes will continue to shift to the right, something crews have gradually done since March.

I-5 Lane and Ramp Closures

Crews will complete the traffic shifts with overnight lane and ramp closures before the reduced speed limit is in place:

Monday, April 15, through the morning of Tuesday, April 16

  • 9:30 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. – Up to three lanes of northbound I-5 between South 272nd Street (Exit 147) and South 200th Street/Military Road South (Exit 151) will close.
  • 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. – Up to two lanes of southbound I-5 between South 200th Street/Military Road South (Exit 151) and South 272nd Street (Exit 147) will close.

Tuesday, April 16, through the morning of Wednesday, April 17

  • 8:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. – Up to two lanes of northbound I-5 between South 272nd Street (Exit 147) and South 200th Street/Military Road South (Exit 151) will close.
  • 11:30 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. – The SR 516 ramp to southbound I-5 will close. A signed detour will be in place.

The work is weather dependent and may be rescheduled in the event of rain.

When the traffic shifts are complete, crews will begin building the east half of the tunnel under northbound I-5. The west half of the tunnel was completed in summer 2023.

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