Interstate 705 Washington

Interstate 705 Washington
History
North End
South End
I-705 at Bridge of Glass
Northward view of Interstate 705 from the Bridge of Glass pedestrian overpass in Tacoma. Photo by Justin Cozart (03/27/05).

Overview

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 on-ramp across from where Schuster Parkway begins northbound. Interchanges are unnumbered, but there are mileage 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, winding its way northward near Storm King Mountain before descending upon Spanaway, Parkland and ultimately Tacoma.

History

The first request for what would become Interstate 705 was submitted by the Washington State Department of Transportation on October 12, 1976. Originally proposed as I-105, the Tacoma Spur was approved March 17, 1978, with recommendations to renumber the freeway to 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.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 AASHTO on June 30, 1978.

Route Information

  • North End – Tacoma, WA

  • South End – Tacoma, WA

  • Mileage – 1.50

  • Cities – Tacoma

  • JunctionsI-5

Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

I-705 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

Location Vehicles per day
I-5 24,000
south of SR 509 74,000
south of Pacific Av 53,000
Schuster Parkway 40,000

Source: 2017 counts obtained from WSDOT Traffic Data Geoportal

I-705 north at Bridge of Glass - Tacoma, WA
I-705 north at the Chihuly Bridge of Glass. This a 500-foot-long pedestrian overpass offers a connection between downtown Tacoma and the Museum of Glass and the Thea Foss Waterway was built as part of the Interstate 705 project. 08/29/06

Highway Guides

North End – 9th Street / Schuster Parkway – Downtown Tacoma, Washington

I-705 North at Shuster Pkwy

I-705 north at Shuster Pkwy - Tacoma, WA

I-705 closely parallels Thea Foss Waterway, which flows north into Commencement Bay. The freeway continues a short distance from the Murray Morgan Bridge at 11th Street to Schuster Parkway. 08/29/06

I-705 north at Shuster Pkwy - Tacoma, WA

I-705 ends ahead of this set of overheads for Shuster Parkway and Stadium Way. Schuster Parkway extends north and then west along Commencement Bay. It eventually splits into Ruston Way (en route to Ruston and the SR 163 ferry to Vashon Island) and 30th Street west across Tacoma. Schuster Parkway is an expressway alignment with limited intersections. 08/29/06

I-705 north at Shuster Pkwy - Tacoma, WA

Traffic on I-705 north diverges into ramps for Schuster Parkway and Stadium Way. Stadium Way parallels Schuster Parkway to Division Avenue at the Stadium District. 08/29/06

Shuster Pkwy – South at I-705

Shuster Pkwy south at I-705 - Tacoma, WA

Schuster Parkway south shifts east onto the freeway leading south to Interstate 705 as Pacific Avenue separates toward Downtown Tacoma. 08/29/06

Shuster Pkwy south at I-705 - Tacoma, WA

A freeway entrance sign marks the transition of Shuster Parkway south, though I-705 does not officially begin for another 0.4 miles. The freeway initially partitions through a multiple deck structure, so that traffic can connect with Stadium Way. 08/29/06

Shuster Pkwy south at I-705 - Tacoma, WA

Southbound Interstate 705 enters a short cut and cover tunnel segment after merging with traffic from Stadium Way. Fireman’s Park sits on top of the structure, providing additional green space and views for Tacoma residents and visitors. 08/29/06

Shuster Pkwy south at I-705 - Tacoma, WA

The 9th Street entrance ramp merges onto Shuster Parkway south, marking the start of Interstate 705. The freeway proceeds under the Murray Morgan Bridge (11th Street) along the east side of the Tacoma city center. 08/29/06

South End I-5 Washington 7 – Tacoma, Washington

I-705 South at I-5 SR 7

I-705 south at I-5 - Tacoma, WA

Heading south from the single point interchange with SR 509 (21st Street), I-705 approaches the exchange with Interstate 5. 08/29/06

I-705 south at I-5 - Tacoma, WA

Southbound Interstate 705 concludes with two lane ramps for I-5 south to Olympia and Portland and I-5 north to Seattle and SR 7 south to Mount Rainier. 08/29/06

I-705 south at I-5 - Tacoma, WA

The roadway linking I-705 south with SR 7 winds through the multi level interchange with Interstate 5. 08/29/06

I-705 south at I-5 - Tacoma, WA

Traffic splits for I-5 north and SR 7 south. SR 7 travels from Tacoma to Mount Rainier while I-5 leads north through Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia. 08/29/06

SR 7 North at I-5 I-705

SR 7 north at I-5/705 - Tacoma, WA

The freeway along SR 7 northbound commences from a partially built parclo interchange with E 38th Street, one half mile south of I-5/705. 08/29/06

SR 7 north at I-5/705 - Tacoma, WA

Winding north from E 38th Street, SR 7 approaches the systems interchange with I-5 and I-705 with four lanes. 08/29/06

SR 7 north at I-5/705 - Tacoma, WA

A lane drop occurs on SR 7 north for the ramp to northbound Interstate 5 for Seattle. The mainline advances with two lanes to connect with I-5 south and I-705 north to the Tacoma city center. 08/29/06

SR 7 north at I-5/705 - Tacoma, WA

State Route 7 north ends and I-705 begins as the left exit for Interstate 5 south to Olympia and Portland, Oregan departs. 08/29/06

I-5 North at I-705 SR 7

I-5 north at I-705/SR 7 - Tacoma, WA

Construction in 2006 expanded I-5 leading north into Tacoma. Further work on this stretch of freeway commenced in August 2014. Completed in November 2018, the I-5 – M Street to Portland Avenue – HOV project widened I-5 to four general purpose lanes and one HOV-lane in each direction. 06/24/15

I-5 north at I-705/SR 7 - Tacoma, WA

A collector distributor roadway (Exit 133) separates for I-705/SR 7 from I-5 northbound within the three-wye interchange (Exit 132) at SR 16. 06/24/15

I-5 north at I-705/SR 7 - Tacoma, WA

The c/d roadway at Exit 133 combines with traffic from SR 16 east one mile ahead of the four level interchange with I-705/SR 7. 06/24/15

I-5 South at I-705 SR 7

I-5 south at I-705/SR 7 - Tacoma, WA

The right lane of I-5 south drops at Exit 133 for I-705 north and SR 7 south. 08/29/06

I-5 south at I-705/SR 7 - Tacoma, WA

Interstate 5 shifts southward along side Wiley Avenue and the Tacoma Dome on the approach to Exit 133 with I-705 / SR 7. 08/29/06

I-5 south at I-705/SR 7 - Tacoma, WA

Southbound Interstate 5 reaches Exit 133 for I-705 north to the Tacoma city center and the freeway spur along SR 7 south to E 38th Street and Pacific Avenue. 08/29/06

I-5 south at I-705/SR 7 - Tacoma, WA

The systems interchange (Exit 133) joining I-5, I-705 and SR 7 includes connections with E 26th Street to the Tacoma Dome. 08/29/06

Sources:

  1. AASHTO application for Establishment of I-705, dated May 9, 1978, retrieved from AASHTO Route Numbering Archive.
  2. WA I-705.” online posting by ErmineNotyours, AARoads Forum, June 4, 2018.
  3. Interstate 705 (Washington). Wikipedia.

Page updated November 7, 2020.