Washington State Route 16 East
Heading south along SR 16 east from Gig Harbor toward the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The left lane is restricted to HOV-2 motorists. 08/29/06
Exit 9 provides the last departure point before SR 16 defaults into the Tacoma Narrows Bridge toll plaza. The southbound side ramps connect the freeway with 36th Street SW west to Point Fosdick Drive NW north of Tacoma Narrows Airport. 08/29/06
Towers of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge rise along the horizon as SR 16 approaches the toll collection facility. Three lanes are allocated for WSDOT Good to Go! account holders. All cash paying drivers must use the conventional booths to the right. 08/29/06
The toll plaza for cash paying customers is considered Exit 8 of SR 16 east (Exit 8 of westbound serves 24th Street NW). 08/29/06
SR 16 east at the Tacoma Narrows Bridge toll plaza. All passenger vehicles were charged $4.00 for cash and $2.75 for Good to Go! account holders in 2010. A planned toll hike to $5 and $3.25 respectively, was to take effect on July 1, 2010, but was postponed.2 08/29/06
24th Street NW spans SR 16, 1.25 miles ahead of Exit 4 for Jackson Avenue to 6th Avenue in Tacoma. 08/29/06
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This suite of photos shows the 1950-bridge in operation with two-way traffic. The 5,979-feet bridge handled all of SR 16 until 2007 when the eastbound span opened to traffic. Tolls were collected for the span until 1965, and reinstituted at The Narrows in 2007 for the eastbound bridge at a rate of $4.00 for cash paying drivers.1
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The history of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge began on July 1, 1940 when the original suspension bridge opened to traffic. Lasting only four months due to a physics design flaw that did not properly account for aeroelastic flutter, the bridge collapsed in a dramatic engineering failure. Regular vibrations and undulations of the span during windy weather were were known in the four months leading to the November 7, 1940 collapse.1
Explosive population growth of the area west of Pugeot Sound strained the 1950-span capacity and by 1998, the plan to add a second parallel bridge was approved. Construction on the new suspension bridge began in October 2002. Both spans travel 187.5 feet above The Narrows.1 08/29/06
Exit 4 constitutes a parclo interchange between SR 16 and Jackson Avenue. Jackson Avenue travels north to Narrows Drive and south to become Bridgeport Way in the city of University Place. 08/29/06
Continuing east, SR 16 passes under an arched pedestrian bridge connecting segments of Skyline Drive nearby. 08/29/06
Eastbound shield assembly posted for SR 16 after Exit 4. 08/29/06
SR 163 (Pearl Street) commences northbound from SR 16 at Exit 3. SR 163 travels 3.37 miles to the WSDOT Ferry Point Defiance Terminal. 08/29/06
SR 163 follows Pearl Street north to Ruston, Point Defiance Park, and the WSDOT Ferry terminal linking Tacoma and Ruston with Vashon Island. 08/29/06
Exit 3 leaves SR 16 east for Pearl Street and SR 163 north. Pearl Street south continues to Alameda Avenue in the city of Fircrest. 08/29/06
Heading south, SR 16 next enters a six-ramp parclo interchange with S 19th Street at Orchard Street. 08/29/06
Exit 2A leaves SR 16 east for S 19th Street west to Tacoma Community College and east to Cheney Stadium (home of the Tacoma Rainiers). 08/29/06
Exit 2B loops west to S Orchard Street. Orchard Street leads south to Fircrest and Manitou. 08/29/06
A wye interchange adds traffic to SR 16 east from Center Street ahead of the diamond interchange with Union Avenue. 08/29/06
Union Avenue runs south from Oakland and SR 16 to an interchange with Tacoma Way (historic U.S. 99) and north to the University of Puget Sound. 08/29/06
Approaching Sprague Avenue along SR 16 east. A diamond interchange replaced the directional ramps to Sprague Avenue as part of the West Nalley Valley interchange project. The design accommodated new westbound viaducts originating from Interstate 5. 08/29/06
Sprague Avenue stems north from SR 16 to Division / 6th Avenues. 08/29/06
The original Nalley Valley Viaduct was constructed between 1969 and 1971 to carry SR 16 between Interstate 5 and the Sprague Avenue interchange. Supports for the elevated highway utilized four-legged columns known as a tetrapod. This design element negates the possibility of expanding the viaduct. Therefore new bridges will rise east of the viaduct by summer 2011 to carry SR 16 west. The original viaduct will be reconstructed and remain in service for SR 16 east upon completion of the westbound spans. 08/29/06
SR 16 concludes at the ramp split to I-5. I-5 north next meets Interstate 705 south of the Tacoma city center. Motorists using the southbound ramp first join Exit 133 for S 38th Street and form a collector distributor roadway. 08/29/06
Interstate 5 continues 32 miles north to downtown Seattle. Portland, Oregon lies 140 miles to the south. 08/29/06

  1. Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Wikipedia.org.
  2. "Toll rates on Tacoma Narrows Bridge won't rise this year." The Seattle Times (WA), March 17, 2010.

Photo Credits:

08/29/06 by AARoads

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Interstate 5

Page Updated 10-27-2010.

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