Despite 5th crash in 5 months at Tacoma I-5 construction zone, WSDOT will not make changes

Tacoma I-5 construction zone

Despite the fifth crash of a semi in five months at the same spot in Tacoma, the State Department of Transportation says it's not going to make any changes. It blames the truck drivers involved for not paying attention through that narrow construction zone.

Early Thursday morning was an all too familiar sight. It was a semi crashed into the temporary jersey barrier separating the north and south bound lanes of I-5. From Air 4 you could see the huge backups with the main roadway shut down for four hours.

This is happening the construction zone where the lanes are one foot narrower and there's very little shoulder.

"It is frustrating," said WSP Trooper Johnna Battiste. "It's frustrating not only to us as emergency responders, but to us also as citizens who live in the area and have to commute through it."

No other vehicles were hit in the crash, but that was not the case in previous accidents. In late September, Lucas Holmes was coming the other direction when a truck pushed the jersey barrier into his lane.

"But flipping my car onto it's side, I think I was very blessed that I didn't get any injuries," Holmes said.

He was shocked when he heard about this most recent crash.

"Since it's happening that consistently, then it may need to be looked at that it needs to be reduced speed or what they can do to change that," Holmes said.

We put those questions to the Transportation Department. It said it has just put up a sign recommending drivers slow to 50 miles an hour through there along with the contractor continuing to brighten the lane striping and barrier reflectors.

WSDOT said it has done two reviews of this stretch of construction zone.

"And we found that the traffic control devices and the setup all met state and federal standards," said Cara Mitchell of WSDOT. "There is no room for error and we need people to pay attention."

The driver of the truck on Thursday was given a $550 fine for negligent driving. The construction project is expected to be done in the next few months.

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