Congestion relief on I-5 earns Washington State DOT national kudos

A local partnership that quickly helped alleviate a sudden traffic snarl on Interstate 5 between Lacey and DuPont in Washington state is now getting national attention, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

A little more than a year ago, I-5 commuters headed north from Lacey found themselves sitting in 9-mile backups, doubling, sometimes tripling their morning commute time. Working together, WSDOT, Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) formulated a solution to ensure traffic returned to its normal flow.

“This project exemplifies our commitment to keeping traffic moving,” said Washington State Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. “We were able to work quickly with our partners and offer up an inexpensive, yet effective, response to the congestion, which all but shut down I-5 through this area. People certainly took note of this success locally, and it’s great to see it’s now garnering some well-deserved national attention, too.”

Recognizing the positive results of this innovative approach, the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) nominated WSDOT’s Operation I-5 Partnership to Relieve Congestion project for the America’s Transportation Awards’ Grand Prize. The project is one of 10 finalists up for the coveted award. A total of 40 projects from 29 states were judged in three categories: “On Time,” “Under Budget,” and “Innovative Management.”

A panel of transportation experts will select one national winner in the AASHTO-sponsored contest, and online voters will have a chance to pick the “People’s Choice Award.” The two national winners each receive $10,000 to fund a local community service project or charity.