I know skiers who’ve broken steering wheels due to the frustration caused by I-70 traffic. Even after a day of powder skiing, I-70 traffic can erase any and all good memories of slashing powder turns. Thankfully, The Colorado Department of Transportation is taking steps to give Colorado commuters more time on the ski hill and less time in traffic.
“With the express lane this year, the corridor had normal travel times (even) with traffic volumes that would’ve collapsed the corridor with speeds of 5 to 10 mph in previous years.”- Margaret Bowes, I-70 Coalition Director (Quote Courtesy Of The Denver Post)
This year, CDOT opened a new toll road on eastbound I-70 between Empire and Idaho Springs and so far travel times have been reduced by up to 52% reports the Denver Post. That startling result is serving as reason for celebration amongst CDOT officials, who opted for the cheaper solution of implementing a toll road last year. Instead of implementing a costly solution that included 1-2 more “free” lanes on the current highway, officials opted for a toll road solution that will pay for a portion of that cost through toll revenue.
All in all, the new road cost nearly $72 million with an additional 24.6 million in the form of a loan to be paid off by tolls.
While on average, eastbound travel times were reduced by just three minutes, those results don’t reflect the drastic improvements to travel time on peak weekends. On MLK weekend, eastbound travel time on the stretch was reduced by 52% percent. Also, the toll price was not nearly as bad as the $30 max limit initially set by CDOT. Instead, the maximum amount paid by a toll road user was $14.67.
Find the entire Denver Post article here: I-70 mountain tolls made travel quicker even in free lanes, CDOT says