I-70 Express Lane opening delayed

Posted at 6:06 PM, Dec 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-12 20:06:07-05

The eastbound I-70 express lane from Empire to Idaho Springs was set to open on Saturday, Dec. 12.

The Colorado Department of Transportation did not open the lanes Saturday morning due to weather condition. 

The lanes may not open in the afternoon if the snow continues.

CDOT hoped drivers could try the lanes for free on Saturday. Tolls would be waived during the trial period, but signs about pricing will be posted.

"The Express Lane will bring much-needed capacity during peak travel times to this critical mountain corridor that connects our Front Range residents and tourists to our world-class recreational opportunities,” said CDOT Executive Director Shailen Bhatt.

CDOT said the department hasn't determined when the trial period will end.

When tolls begin, the base rate for ExpressToll account and pass holders is $3 and with typical traffic volumes, could range between $8 and $10. At high traffic volumes, the afternoon rate is expected to range between $10 and $15, or higher, depending upon trip reliability and traffic volume. Toll prices can range from $3 to $30 for the I-70 Mountain Express Lane, depending upon traffic.

CDOT encourages all drivers to save money each trip with an ExpressToll pass. Without a pass, drivers will pay the toll plus an additional fee to cover the increased costs of processing the transaction without a pass.                    

All motorists traveling on the I-70 Mountain Express Lane – including motorcycles, carpoolers and hybrids – will pay a toll. However, drivers who don’t want to pay it can use the general lanes.

The I-70 Mountain Express Lane operates for 13 miles traveling eastbound between Empire and Idaho Springs for 73 days a year - only during periods of peak travel such as the weekends and holidays. When not in use, the lane is used as a shoulder.

What you need to know about the I-70 Mountain Express Lane:

  • There are two entrances and exits: Enter at Empire Junction or before the Veterans Memorial Twin Tunnels.
  • Express Lane users who want to exit at Idaho Springs may use the signed Express Lane exit for Idaho Springs, prior to Exit 239.
  • Travelers exiting I-70 eastbound to US 6 at Floyd Hill (Exit 244) can enter US 6 without a charge.
  • Do not cross the solid white line; enter and exit at designated areas only.
  • No free HOV, motorcycles or trailers or trucks over 25 feet.
  • Travelers will be charged the toll price posted when they entered the Express Lane. If the price should increase or decrease while they are in the lane, drivers will pay the price posted upon entry. The toll price is the same regardless of toll entrance point, Empire or before the Veterans Memorial Tunnels.
  • The use of the lane will be impacted by weather or incidents.
  • Should an incident occur and traffic is detoured onto or off the Express Lane, no toll will be charged.
  • The Express Lane is open weekends and holidays. When not in use, it is a shoulder.
  • ExpressToll saves money each time. The same ExpressToll passes (stickers or switchable HOV transponders) that are used on US 36, E-470, I-25 and Northwest Parkway will work on the I-70 Mountain Express Lane. 

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