The Washington State Dept. of Transportation describes the highway off-ramp improperly built on a new interchange in east Tacoma as “unfortunate and embarrassing.” It’s also expensive. A change order for nearly $900,000 —out of the project’s contingency fund at the cost of WSDOT—was worked out with project contractor Guy F. Atkinson Construction. The Broomfield, Colo.-based contractor already has started removing retaining-wall panels to flatten the ramp, which was mistakenly built at the wrong grade.
The eastbound ramp of the $119.9-million Nalley Valley interchange—at which Interstate 5 meets state Route 16—was 90% complete before the problem surfaced. The contractor will tear out a portion of the ramp to change its slope along a 700-ft section. The overall project still will finish on time.