03 April 2010
The Tacoma to Olympia Corridor
Tacoma Tomorrow is going to start bringing you a new series on the Tacoma-Olympia Corridor. For anyone that has ever driven down to Olympia or even taken the bus or train there, you probably have at least once experienced some miserable congestion. Backups typically stretch for miles and if an accident happens near the JBLM, then traffic can get backed up all the way to Olympia.
Unfortunately there aren't any immediately planned infrastructure upgrades in the near future. However, the corridor between Tacoma and Olympia is a vital transportation artery that is of major importance to the Pacific Northwest due to the lack of alternative routes through the JBLM area. This series will take a look at the corridor while focusing in on the bottleneck through the JBLM area.
The first part in the series will cover I-5 through the JBLM area. WSDOT is working on one study and one highway maintenance project at the moment. The study they are working on is focused almost solely on highway operations through the JBLM area. The highway maintenance project will rehabilitate or replace many of the concrete panels on 25.5 miles of I-5 from 48th st in Tacoma all the way to Martin Way in Lacey. Backups from this project will sometimes be as much as 15 miles long.
The second part will cover the bus service through the area. Today, Pierce Transit and Intercity Transit provide public transit with Greyhound providing a private intercity service. This blog has covered the potential service reductions that Pierce Transit and Intercity Transit are currently proposing if additional revenue is not obtained. However, this part will take on more of a brainstorming role to envision what bus service might be possible if just a few more resources were available.
The final two parts will cover rail service through the area. As most transit nerds probably know, WSDOT and Sound Transit are working together on the Point Defiance Bypass project and the Sounder to Lakewood projects respectively. These projects will enable significant improvements in Sounder and Amtrak service. In the first part of this rail service section we'll take a look at the prospects and also some concerns that this new service will bring in. The second part will take a much longer-term look at rail service in the future to examine the possibilities for high-speed rail or possibly a more localized intercity line between Tacoma and Olympia.