I-70 Mountain Express Lane could cost up to $40 without a pass

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DENVER — Life in the fast lane will cost drivers big time — up to $40 without a pass — on the new Interstate 70 mountain toll lane this winter.

The toll rates were set by the state’s High Performance Transportation Enterprise for drivers coming home from the mountains during the upcoming ski season.

It will be one of the most expensive rides in the country — but it will be a way to escape the traffic headaches and backups.

The work on the Express Lane has been ongoing. It’s a 13-mile stretch on eastbound I-70 that will run between Empire and the Veterans Memorial Tunnels in Idaho Springs.

The lane will operate 72 days a year and only during periods of peak travel, including weekends and holidays.

Pass holders will pay $3 as a base rate and with typical traffic, the rates will jump to $8 to $10. At high traffic volumes, the afternoon rate will be $10 to $15 or higher, depending on volume.

Drivers without a pass will pay an additional fee to cover increased costs with license plate tolling.

RELATED: Mountain Express Lane toll rates

Toll rates were also established for the second phase of the U.S. 36 Express Lanes between Table Mesa and 88th Avenue/Interlocken beginning in 2016.

The rate from Table Mesa to downtown Denver during the morning peak (7:15-8:15 a.m.) will be $8.75 with an ExpressToll pass. Without the pass, the rate jumps to $16.33. During the afternoon peak (3:30-4:30 p.m.), the rate will be $3.45 with a pass and $8.70 without a pass.

The HPTE board also approved separate special event rates for sporting events, concerts and performance that increase traffic on U.S. 36 and Interstate 25.

Special event rates could be up to 60 cents for University of Colorado home football games and up to 50 cents for Saturday events at the First Bank Center in Broomfield.

The special event rates will not affect HOV drivers who use a switchable transponder.

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