CDOT to add I-70 express lane to the mountains

IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The Colorado Department of Transportation and Governor Jared Polis kicked off construction of an Interstate 70 westbound express lane project with the goal of improving travel time and safety in the mountain corridor.

The new express lane will act much like the existing express lane on I-70 eastbound. The new lane will be 12 miles long -- stretching from the Veterans Memorial tunnels, near the Central City exit, to the Empire Junction exit.

CDOT will convert the shoulder into an express lane that will be open to drivers during peak travel time. Drivers will pay a toll to use it.

"What that will do is it will greatly improve travel times. Once it’s completed, you’ll have the option of using that express lane in exchange for paying a toll so you’ll have a reliable trip," said CDOT spokesperson Tamara Rollison.

The project is scheduled to be completed in late 2020 and drivers will have access to the express lane in Spring 2021.

During construction, CDOT said it hopes to minimize travel impacts along I-70 westbound by isolating shoulder closures and westbound lane closures to quieter travel times. CDOT also said crews will stage construction equipment in the eastbound express lane to minimize driver inconvenience.

The price tag for the project is $70 million.

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