I-70 Construction more noticeable in High Country as work continues on express lane

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IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. — Skiers and snowboarders will notice more road construction on Interstate 70 in the High Country as work continues on a project to create a peak period toll lane for westbound traffic between the Veterans Memorial Tunnel and Empire Junction.

Congestion relief won’t come for more than a year, but the Colorado Department of Transportation tells the Problem Solvers it’s working around the clock to ease traffic woes as soon as possible.

“We have reduced travel times during busy holiday seasons on the eastbound side by as much as 50 percent,” said CDOT spokesperson Tamara Rollison.

Eventually, the trip from the Denver metro into the mountains will afford the same toll options. The future peak period westbound lane will be used during heavy construction as an express lane. It will be used as a shoulder during all other times.

“It gives motorists a choice,” Rollison said. “They can always use the general purpose lanes for free or they can use that express lane in exchange for a toll for a faster trip ... and that has proven to be incredibly effective. We don’t know what the toll rate is going to be. We usually don’t know until right before we open the express lane.”

CDOT says lane closures will occur in the evenings, but work will also continue during the day.

The westbound lane will mimic the current eastbound lane running a span of about 12 miles between the Veterans Memorial Tunnel and the Empire junction. CDOT expects the new lane to be open by Spring of 2021.

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