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Interstate 705

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Interstate 705 marker

Interstate 705

Tacoma Spur
Interactive map of Downtown Tacoma with I-705 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-5
Maintained by WSDOT
Length1.50 mi[1] (2.41 km)
HistoryCompleted in 1988
NHSEntire route
Major junctions
South end I-5 / SR 7 in Tacoma
Major intersections SR 509 in Tacoma
North endSchuster Parkway in Tacoma
CountryUnited States
Highway system
SR 704 SR 706

Interstate 705 (I-705), also known as the Tacoma Spur, is a short Interstate Highway in Tacoma, Washington, United States. It is a spur route of I-5 that connects the freeway to Downtown Tacoma, Tacoma's waterfront, North Tacoma, and the Tacoma Dome. I-705 was completed in 1988 and is one of the newest portions of the Interstate Highway System in Washington.

Route description


I-705 is the shortest Interstate Highway in Washington, at 1.5 miles (2.4 km) in length, and primarily serves as a connector between I-5 and Downtown Tacoma.[2][3] It begins as a continuation of SR 7 at an interchange with I-5 south of downtown Tacoma, near the Tacoma Dome and America's Car Museum.[4] The freeway passes under I-5, following a gulch south until it terminates at South 38th Street; SR 7 continues beyond Tacoma on Pacific Avenue towards Spanaway and Mount Rainier National Park.[5]

The freeway travels north with an exit to South 26th Street serving the Tacoma Dome and the adjacent Tacoma Dome Station transit complex. I-705 passes over the T Line streetcar near South 25th Street station and continues north to a single-point urban interchange with SR 509 at South 21st Street, which provides access to the University of Washington Tacoma campus and Port of Tacoma. Following a freight railroad, the freeway passes the Washington State History Museum and Union Station near the Bridge of Glass, a pedestrian overpass that crosses I-705 and links the Museum of Glass on the Thea Foss Waterway shore to downtown Tacoma.[4][6]

The northbound lanes separate near the Bridge of Glass, with one splitting into offramps serving South 15th Street and A Street, the latter of which is also served by a southbound onramp.[7] I-705 then crosses under South 11th Street near the Murray Morgan Bridge and terminates at an onramp from South 9th Street adjacent to Fireman's Park, which cantilevers over the southbound lanes.[8] The freeway continues northwest onto Schuster Parkway, with a separate set of flyover ramps that end at an at-grade intersection with Stadium Way near the Old City Hall.[4]

As a component of the Interstate Highway System, the entirety of I-705 is listed as part of the National Highway System, a national network of roads identified as important to the national economy, defense, and mobility;[9] it is also part of the state government's Highway of Statewide Significance program, recognizing its connection to major communities.[10] The freeway is maintained by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), which conducts an annual survey of traffic volume that is expressed in terms of annual average daily traffic. Average traffic volumes on the highway in 2020 ranged from a minimum of 26,000 vehicles at its southern terminus to a maximum of 62,000 vehicles between I-5 and SR 509.[11]


I-705 northbound approaching SR 509

The state government's plans for a regional tollway connecting Tacoma to Seattle and Everett in the early 1950s included a bypass of Downtown Tacoma with several connecting interchanges.[12] The plan later formed the basis of I-5, which would be constructed using funds from the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 instead of requiring a toll.[13] In 1957, city officials from Tacoma proposed the construction of a downtown connector that would travel north from the Pacific Avenue interchange on I-5 (where SR 7 terminates) and improve vehicular access to the central business district. A route along A Street was selected for preliminary studies of either an elevated freeway or one-way couplet.[14]

The opening of the Tacoma Mall along I-5 in 1965 caused a reduction in the number of retailers in Downtown Tacoma, which remained only accessible via local streets from the freeway.[15] The lost business, combined with worsening congestion in Downtown Tacoma, prompted downtown retailers to ask the state government for an improved connection to I-5. The state Department of Highways had advanced their study into a downtown connector as part of SR 509 that would become an eventual freeway link.[16]: 1–5  In 1968, the Department of Highways adopted the routing of a freeway into Downtown Tacoma along the western side of the City Waterway, to be constructed over railroad right of way.[16]: 6  The project, then part of a new freeway corridor for State Route 509 through the Port of Tacoma, was approved by the Tacoma City Council in 1971, but further planning was suspended at the time due to funding issues.[16]: 7 

In 1978, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved the designation of the Tacoma Spur as I-705.[17] The Federal Highway Administration had tentatively numbered the route as "Interstate 105", but the Washington State Department of Transportation had requested the use of "705" as it would not conflict with SR 105, an existing highway.[18][19] The Washington State Legislature approved the addition of I-705 into the state highway system in April 1979.[20][21]

While funding was identified in the 1970s, construction on the freeway was not completed until the next decade because of federal budget cuts.[22][23] Construction began with a groundbreaking on July 26, 1982, for the first portion of the Tacoma Spur, a ramp connecting I-5 to the Tacoma Dome area.[24] The offramp connecting southbound I-5 to East 26th Street was dedicated on April 21, 1983, a day before the Tacoma Dome opened to the public.[25] Construction on the rest of I-705 began in 1983; it required the demolition of the Union Station concourse shortly after passenger trains were rerouted to a new Amtrak station in 1984.[26]

The northbound lanes of I-705 between South 22nd and South 13th streets opened on October 27, 1986,[27] and was followed in August 1987 by a connection to Schuster Parkway.[28] The freeway was dedicated on October 17, 1988, with a parade and ribbon-cutting;[29] I-705 cost $102.3 million to construct and was the last new Interstate to be completed in the state of Washington.[30][31] The Tacoma City Council in 1992 proposed to name the freeway Martin Luther King Way, however that name was finally applied to nearby K Street.[32] Work on the single-point urban interchange, costing $29.4 million (equivalent to $56 million in 2023[33]), was completed in 1993 to accommodate the changes that were made to SR 509 through Tacoma.[34]

Exit list


The entire highway is in Tacoma, Pierce County. All exits are unnumbered.

I-5 / SR 7 south – Seattle, Portland, Mount Rainier
Southern terminus; roadway continues as SR 7
0.080.13East 26th Street – Tacoma DomeNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
SR 509 north / South 21st Street – Port of Tacoma
1.151.85A Street – Tacoma City CenterNorthbound exit and southbound entrance; exit includes direct ramp to South 15th Street
1.432.30South 9th StreetSouthbound entrance only
1.502.41 Stadium Way / Commerce StreetNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
Schuster ParkwayNorthern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also



  1. ^ a b Multimodal Planning Division (January 4, 2021). State Highway Log Planning Report 2020, SR 2 to SR 971 (PDF) (Report). Washington State Department of Transportation. pp. 1684–1685. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  2. ^ "Table 3: Interstate Routes in Each of the 50 States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico". Route Log and Finder List. Federal Highway Administration. January 26, 2022. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  3. ^ "Project: I-705 Connector in Washington". EconWorks Case Studies. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c Google (March 14, 2022). "Interstate 705" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  5. ^ Washington State Department of Transportation (2014). Washington State Highways, 2014–2015 (PDF) (Map). 1:842,000. Olympia: Washington State Department of Transportation. Downtown Tacoma inset. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  6. ^ Reif, Rita (July 21, 2002). "A Pyramid for New Treasures of an Age-Old Art". The New York Times. sec. 2, p. 26. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  7. ^ "SR 705 – Junction 15th Street/A Street" (PDF) (Map). Interchange Viewer. Washington State Department of Transportation. June 22, 2007. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  8. ^ "SR 705 – Junction 9th Street/Schuster Parkway" (PDF) (Map). Interchange Viewer. Washington State Department of Transportation. June 30, 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  9. ^ "State Highway National Highway System Routes in Washington" (PDF). Washington State Department of Transportation. 2017. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  10. ^ "Transportation Commission List of Highways of Statewide Significance" (PDF). Washington State Transportation Commission. July 26, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 24, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  11. ^ Traffic GeoPortal (Map). Cartography by Maxar Technologies. Washington State Department of Transportation. 2020. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  12. ^ Myers, Bob (September 18, 1955). "City to have Only Six Access Points to Road". The News Tribune. p. A4. Retrieved June 25, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ Wilma, David (September 4, 2002). "Interstate 5 is completed from Everett to Tacoma on January 31, 1967". HistoryLink. Retrieved June 25, 2024.
  14. ^ Gibbs, Al (May 18, 1971). "Document Details History Of Tacoma Spur Freeway". The News Tribune. p. 3. Retrieved June 25, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ Heberlein, Greg (December 3, 1989). "State of the State, Part 7: Second Chance". The Seattle Times. p. E1.
  16. ^ a b c Washington State Department of Transportation (September 1979). State Route 509 (Interstate 705) Pacific Avenue Interchange to Port of Tacoma Road Interchange Final Environmental Impact Statement. Washington State Department of Transportation. OCLC 41692702. Retrieved March 4, 2017 – via Google Books.
  17. ^ Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering (June 29, 1978). "Route Numbering Committee Agenda Showing Action Taken by the Executive Committee" (PDF) (Report). Washington, DC: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. p. 5. Retrieved March 4, 2017 – via Wikimedia Commons.
  18. ^ "It's official—Tacoma Spur known as I-705". The News Tribune. August 3, 1978. p. A1. Retrieved July 9, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ Bulley, W. A. (May 2, 1978). "Route Numbering, I-5 Tacoma Spur". Washington State Department of Transportation. p. 10. Retrieved September 29, 2020 – via American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
  20. ^ Washington State Legislature (1979). "47.17.819: State Route No. 705". Revised Code of Washington. Washington State Legislature. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  21. ^ Washington State Legislature (April 23, 1979). "Chapter 33: State Highway Routes". Washington Laws, 1979 1st Extraordinary Session (PDF). Washington State Legislature. pp. 1119–1120. Retrieved March 4, 2017.
  22. ^ Harper, Robert (April 16, 1980). "12 state road projects budget casualties". The Spokesman-Review. p. A1. Retrieved January 8, 2011 – via Google News Archive.
  23. ^ Virgin, Bill (October 26, 2006). "At 50, interstates feeling their age". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Archived from the original on November 9, 2006. Retrieved March 4, 2017.
  24. ^ Syphee, Richard (July 27, 1982). "Finally, city breaks ground for Tacoma Spur". The News Tribune. p. A3. Retrieved June 25, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  25. ^ Sypher, Richard (April 21, 1983). "Dome off-ramp opens in rain". The News Tribune. p. A4. Retrieved December 20, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  26. ^ Song, John (August 5, 1984). "Wrecking ball rolls in with a rush". The News Tribune. p. B1. Retrieved June 25, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ Turner, Joseph (October 25, 1986). "First link of I-5 spur to open Monday". The News Tribune. p. A10. Retrieved June 25, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  28. ^ "Another Spur section opens today". The News Tribune. August 28, 1987. p. B2. Retrieved June 25, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  29. ^ Szymanski, Jim (October 16, 1988). "Spur is city's link to future". The News Tribune. pp. A1, A12. Retrieved July 9, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  30. ^ Bailey, Gil (October 14, 1988). "Tacoma is big on new little freeway". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. p. C2.
  31. ^ Nelson, Robert T. (March 29, 1998). "In the 6th District, Dicks Keeps Delivering". The Seattle Times. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
  32. ^ Clements, Barbara (December 9, 1992). "K Street to get King's name, council decides". The News Tribune. p. B1. Retrieved September 28, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  33. ^ Johnston, Louis; Williamson, Samuel H. (2023). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved November 30, 2023. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the MeasuringWorth series.
  34. ^ Higgins, Mark (March 2, 1993). "Senate Bill Provides Millions for Roads". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. p. B1.
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