CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (KDVR) — Commuters stopping to fill up for gas Friday before hitting Interstate 25 South were excited to see the express lanes now open on the Gap.
“You can just tell the difference commuting on I-25 now, how it opens up all the lanes,” Marc Perea, who commutes nearly daily on the gap from Pueblo, said.
The express lanes cover 14 miles on northbound I-25 and 15 miles on southbound I-25. Tolls on the express lanes are being waived for now because the project is far ahead of schedule.
“We were able to get the road to its final alignment about a year ahead of schedule, but there is still work to do and there will be lane closures from time to time,” Tamara Rollison, a Colorado Department of Transportation spokesperson, said.
Rollison said the gap project in total cost $419 million. She said the things still left to work on are toll infrastructure, toll testing and another layer of pavement. But she said those will be done in warmer months ahead.
“The average daily traffic volume is about 80,000 vehicles a day,” Rollison said.
Drivers like Charlie Banks, who commutes to Colorado Springs from Castle Rock every Monday through Friday, said he noticed the difference Friday morning with the extra lane.
“It’s fantastic. There is no more jam at Monument Pass. It makes the commute much easier and faster,” Banks said.
Banks said sometimes he would even take Highway 87 to avoid the Gap, but now he is looking forward to driving on it.
Rollison said the shoulders of the interstate were also widened to help emergency workers respond when there are accidents on the road.
“One of the reasons for improvements to I-25 was to widen the shoulders to make safety improvements,” Rollison said.
What to know about the new I-25 Gap lanes
Although the lanes are now open, they come with some rules:
- DO NOT cross the solid white lines
- Enter and exit at the designated areas only, shown with a white dotted line
- Obey posted speed limits
- DO NOT use Express Lanes as a passing lane (Express Lanes cannot be used to pass slower moving vehicles)
The Colorado State Patrol will increase enforcement from Castle Rock and Monument.