I-70 toll lane could get some skiers home more quickly

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CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. -- After a weekend on the slopes, drivers will have the option for a faster way down Interstate 70 this winter, but it’ll cost you.

Lane construction is underway on a 13-mile stretch for a toll lane between the Empire exit and Central City Parkway on I-70. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The Colorado Department of Transportation said drivers will save 30 minutes if they use the toll lane on the way back from the mountains.

The cost will depend on the flow of traffic. The toll lane will have flexible pricing, ranging from $3 to $30.

“Whether they need to raise the rate of the toll or lower it in order to get people to use that lane and to draw some traffic out of the general purpose lanes,” CDOT spokeswoman Megan Castle said.

The toll lane would be open about 72 days a year, on weekends and holidays.

“It is not like every other express lane or toll lane around the country that is based on commuter traffic, this is based on recreational traffic,” Castle said. “So we want to see people are investing in their recreation. Are they also willing to invest in their transportation and their time?”

Clear Creek County Commissioner Tim Mauck believes it’s a step in the right direction.

“By putting in this small step, it will really give us an idea for what we need to do in the future,” Mauck said.

A public meeting about the toll lanes will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Elks Lodge in Idaho Springs (1600 Colorado Blvd.).

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