I-70 toll lane could cost you up to $30

Posted at 11:39 AM, Sep 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-30 13:39:20-04

About 50 people showed up at the I-70 Mountain Express Lane public hearing on Tuesday evening, expressing a sentiment of unfairness about the project.

Pricing of the toll lane would be determined by traffic volume and will be posted on the electronic billboards. You could pay as little as $3 when traffic is light, or up to $30 when traffic is heavy.

"What you'll have is a lot of people coming back from the mountains, sitting in stop-and-go traffic and they'll have people whizzing by. And is that a very, very fair solution?" asked Evergreen resident Maureen Barrett. 

Barrett was among the 50 people attending Tuesday's public meeting.

"These [toll lanes] are always [there] along with two free general purpose lanes, so it's a choice," said project spokeswoman Megan Castle.

If an accident were to occur, the express lane could immediately be closed to divert traffic as there won't be a shoulder. Tolls would then be suspended.

Officials said plans to build a train or rail system have been studied, but the $17 billion price tag is too expensive for the state.

The 13-mile toll lane on eastbound I-70 will run from the Empire Junction to the Veterans Memorial Tunnels in Idaho Springs.

However, it will only be open during peak travel times -- during busy ski season and summer holiday weekends, CDOT said. At other times, the lane will be a shoulder for safety and snowplowing purposes.

CDOT spokeswoman Amy Ford said the fluctuating tolls will limit drivers in the lane, keep traffic moving and help repay the bonds used to fund the expansion.

Castle said more than 10,000 people took part in a telephone conference call on Sept. 21. She added that most of them wanted to know how to get a pass. You can do so online at Drivers can choose a sticker or a switchable transponder - the same ones that are used on all of Colorado's toll roads, though the I-70 express lane will not be free for HOV.

CDOT said its staff is still determining when the tolls will increase and decrease.

Learn more about the I-70 Express Lane project.

The lane is expected to open in December. 

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