Better merging and trip reliability coming soon to westbound SR 16 in Tacoma Ramp meters to help manage travel demand at busy times

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People who use westbound State Route 16 between Sprague Avenue and Pearl Street in Tacoma may soon have a quicker trip during peak commute hours.

Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 13, the Washington State Department of Transportation will meter traffic entering westbound SR 16 from the following four on-ramps:

  • Sprague Avenue
  • Union Avenue
  • South Orchard Street
  • Pearl Street

Ramp meters are traffic signals that operate according to real-time conditions on both the highway and the ramp. They help improve safety and reduce congestion at merge areas by providing consistent gaps between vehicles, rather than allowing multiple vehicles to flood the highway at once.

“Ramp meters installed on eastbound SR 16 have been active since 2007,” said WSDOT Freeway Operations Manager Tony Leingang. “They continue to be a proven, cost-effective approach to reducing freeway congestion and collisions, providing drivers a better, more reliable trip.”

WSDOT installed ramp meters and roadway vehicle sensors on State Route 16 at these four interchanges during a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) improvement project in 2007. As with all WSDOT’s ramp meters, they will not operate continuously and will only be activated when traffic conditions warrant their use.

Daytime testing of each ramp meter is scheduled for off-peak hours on Monday, Feb. 12. Once activated, WSDOT will monitor the traffic patterns on the ramps and nearby surface streets, and will make adjustments as needed.

WSDOT keeps people, businesses and the economy moving by operating and improving the state’s transportation systems. To learn more about what we’re doing, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/news for pictures, videos, news, and blogs. Real-time traffic information is available at wsdot.com/traffic or by dialing 511.

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