Please stop cutting in line on southbound I-225!

Posted at 11:38 AM, May 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-19 10:41:59-04

Nick from Aurora writes, SB 225 from Parker Rd. to Yosemite St. Drivers using the exit lanes as passing lanes further slowing traffic in the two left lanes.  It would be interesting watching in time-lapsed photography?”

Nick, this is a common complaint. I wrote a story last year about this issue and have this update. 

I asked CDOT about this continuing problem and the short answer is they are still working on how to best fix the problem. There are several possible ways to fix the bottleneck including turning the shoulder into a lane during peak times but none of the ideas are rising to the surface as the best one.

What you are not hearing is talk about the elephant in the room. If the bottleneck at DTC is fixed, will CDOT just be moving the traffic jam a half mile down the road?

There is also concern whether I-25 can handle the additional traffic that would pour out from 225. Northbound I-25 is already slow during peak times by the amount of northbound 225 traffic as well as the drivers exiting at Hampden.

There are only three lanes from southbound 225 to go either south or north on I-25 and no room to expand. And I believe secretly the powers that be would rather not see constant traffic jams inside that southbound tunnel every day. Even though the tunnel is nothing like the Eisenhower Tunnel along I-70, it is long enough to cause some sweat to bead on the brow of first responders if something ever happened in there, especially a vehicle fire.

I’ve heard from people on the inside that it is sometimes preferred to do nothing rather than fix a problem that only leads to creating another problem farther down the road. That seems to be the case here.

The problem that infuriates drivers as Nick mentioned is when someone zips past everyone using the exit lane at Yosemite or DTC and then jump into traffic at the last minute crossing the solid white line. I counted more than a half dozen drivers cutting over the solid white line into traffic on a recent drive in that area. I captured many of the infractions on my dash cam that you see attached to this story. There were several illegal lane changes that I saw behind me that I didn't catch on camera. Crossing one solid white line is not an illegal move, according to the state. It is a violation according to the city of Denver. 

The state law says, “Unless otherwise posted (such as by means of a sign), it is generally legal, but 'discouraged', to cross a single solid white line in Colorado. It is not legal to cross a solid double white line in Colorado, "unless otherwise directed by a police officer subject to the exceptions in this article granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle." [C.R.S. 42-4-603(1)]”

The Denver Revised Municipal Code reads, “DRMC Sec. 54-202. Lane assignment. (a) Whenever a lane of traffic on any street or highway is indicated by pavement marking, or by a sign, as being assigned solely for left turns, right turns or through traffic, it shall be unlawful for the driver of a vehicle in such lane to make any other movement at an intersection, other than that designated by such sign or marking.” The Denver penalty is $100 and 3 points on your license.

So bottom line Nick, I'm sorry to say, I think you can expect status quo for now with continuing frustration and many more illegal lane changes in your future. Of course I'll let you know if something does develop to help solve this problem. 

7NEWS traffic reporter Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is about 20 years.) He's obsessed with letting viewers know what's happening on their drive and the best way to avoid the problems that spring up. Follow him on Facebookand Twitter.

See more of Jayson's "Driving you crazy" reports here.