Pierce County, WSDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in concert with the City of Lakewood, Joint Base Lewis-McChord are developing a new arterial roadway between Interstate 5 (I-5) and State Route (SR) 7 (Pacific Avenue).
The project terminus are the Thorne Lane interchange on I-5 and the intersection of 176th Street East and SR 7. The project spans 5.9 miles.
Project placed on hold due to funding constraints and changes in project priorities.
Update - October 2012
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) completed construction on the $9.5 million dollar contract for ''Project 1'' in mid 2009. Project 1 is the portion of the project's east end between Spanaway Loop Road and SR-7. Further design, rights of way acquisition, and permitting for the rest of the highway alignment is on hold.
Actual construction of follow-on phases of the project depends on securing additional funding for rights of way purchases and building the roadway. Once completed, the new roadway will provide four through-lanes. Access will be provided at three signalized intersections (two in American Lake Gardens and one at Spanaway Loop Road Southerly extension) and at a new interchange near A Street (roughly mid-way along the project) to provide access into Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Relocating the Interchange
The existing Thorne Lane interchange will be relocated 300 feet southwest and reconstructed to accommodate additional traffic, pass over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad tracks southwest of I-5, and connect to a new single-lane southbound connector road southwest of the BNSF railroad tracks between Gravelly Lake Drive and Thorne Lane (Gravelly-Thorne Connector).
The intersection of 176th Street East and SR 7 will also be enlarged with additional lanes for turning movements.
New Railroad Crossing
On Fort Lewis, a new over crossing of the BNSF tracks will be constructed. Lincoln Road (on Fort Lewis) will be realigned to connect with the new A Street interchange, and a new military access road between Fort Lewis and McChord AFB will be constructed.
The Cross-Base Highway will provide a needed link in the regional transportation system by connecting existing and future residential areas in mid-Pierce County and north Thurston County with two of the largest planned employment sites in Pierce County, Frederickson and DuPont.
The roadway will reduce projected traffic volumes and congestion, particularly during peak periods on existing roadways such as SR-7, SR-512, SR-507 and Spanaway Loop Road South. All of these roads are projected to operate at, near or above capacity in 2025 if additional east-west capacity is not added.
In 2002, the planned highway was designated SR 704 and a route of regional significance by the Washington State Legislature. In 2004, the Washington State Legislature designated SR 704 as a 'Highway of Statewide Significance'.