Toll takes effect on I-70 Mountain Express Lane

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DENVER --  The I-70 mountain corridor is getting ready for the busiest travel days of the year, and CDOT is hoping drivers are prepared.

The new mountain toll lane was put into use for the first time on Saturday, and free tire tread tests were also given out along the corridor.

ColoradoLand Tire and Service partnered with CDOT to test tire treads on cars heading up I-70. At the I-70 park and ride near Morrison, they found about 30 percent of the vehicles tested would not meet the requirements for CDOT’s traction law.

When CDOT calls for the code 15 traction law, they expect all cars traveling the I-70 corridor to meet the tire tread requirements.

“CDOT recommends 4/32nds of tread to come up the mountain in adverse conditions,” Kevin Humphries from Coloradoland Tire and Service said.

If your tires do not meet the requirements and you cause an accident or spin out, you could be fined up to $650.

“It’s unsafe and you’re going to notice that in snow, ice and sand that breaking, accelerating, cornering, it’s all going to present a danger,” Humphries said.

Coloradoland Tire and Service spent the day at park and rides and the parking lot at Copper Mountain to help educate drivers. Skiers and snowboarders heading down the mountain know just how important the tire tread is.

“If you don’t have snow tires you are in danger,” Mark Hotop said.

“It has to be important,” Dale Trone said. “I’m glad to see they are enforcing it because you get cars sliding out going up the tunnel and all of a sudden you get a two or three hour backup.”

Another effort to handle the I-70 corridor traffic went into effect for the first time on Saturday as the new mountain toll lane was open and charging drivers.

Around 4 p.m. it was $4 to ride the 13-mile stretch; at 5 p.m. it bumped up to $8, and then at 6 p.m. dipped to $3.