Northward view of Interstate 705 from the Bridge of Glass pedestrian overpass in Tacoma. Photo by Justin Cozart (03/27/05).
Interstate 705 is a short freeway spur connecting I-5 and Washington Route 7 with Downtown Tacoma. The WSDOT Interchange Viewer Diagram lists the route at 1.50 miles in length, with an official end at the 9th Street southbound entrance ramp across from where Schuster Parkway begins northbound. Interchanges are unnumbered, but there are markers for milepost 1.
SR 7 extends south from I-5/705 along a freeway to a partial interchange with E 38th Street. There were plans to extend the freeway south of E 38th Street, but such plans apparently lie dormant. The state route begins at U.S. 12 in Morton, weaving northward near Storm King Mountain before descending upon Spanaway, Parkland and ultimately Tacoma.
The first request for what would become Interstate 705 was submitted by the Washington State Department of Transportation to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) on October 12, 1976. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) tentatively assigned I-105 to the route subject to concurrence by AASHTO. The Tacoma Spur was eventually approved March 17, 1978, with a recommendation by the Washington State Transportation Commission to renumber it I-705. One reason included a numerical relationship I-705 would have with SR 7, which entered Tacoma from the south and terminated at the Pacific Avenue Interchange (I-5). The lack of conflict with SR 105 was another reason for the establishment of I-705, as no other route in the state had that number at that time. FAI spur related numbers of 305 and 505 were also assigned to existing Washington State Routes, so those numbers were not selected to avoid duplication.1
The north end of the freeway, from a point one block south of the Murry Morgan Bridge (11th Street) to the beginning of Schuster Parkway, was constructed by the city of Tacoma. The state eventually took over a portion of this route, with the northern section remaining under city of Tacoma maintenance.2
Interstate 705 opened to traffic in 1991.3 Establishment of Interstate was conditionally approved by the AASHTO on June 30, 1978.