Tolls Begin Saturday On I-70 Mountain Express

I70 SIGNThe High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) today announced that toll collection will begin on the eastbound I-70 Mountain Express Lane this Saturday, Dec. 19. The lane, which runs 13 miles from Empire to Idaho Springs, opened Dec. 13 with all tolls waived, allowing drivers to learn how to use the lane and for CDOT to test equipment.

“Last weekend, drivers had the opportunity to use the Express Lane while CDOT completed testing. This weekend, the lane will operate to manage congestion,” said Shailen Bhatt, CDOT Executive Director. “Starting this weekend, CDOT will adjust the Express Lane toll pricing to manage traffic. We recognize this corridor sees new drivers every weekend, from Front Range visitors, to out-of-state tourists. CDOT will continue to work to educate drivers in how to use the lane and to adjust the toll prices accordingly to provide a reliable travel time.”

The opening comes just in time for some of the corridors’ busiest travel days during the holidays when many Front Range drivers and out-of-state visitors will be using the lane.

The base toll rate for ExpressToll account and pass holders will be $3 and with typical traffic volumes, ranging between $8 and $10. At high traffic volumes, the afternoon toll rate may range between $10 to $15, or higher, depending upon trip reliability and traffic volume. Overall, toll prices can range from $3 to $30 for the I-70 Mountain Express Lane, depending upon traffic. CDOT encourages all drivers to save money each trip with an ExpressToll pass. Without a pass, using License Plate Toll, drivers will pay the toll plus an additional fee to cover the increased costs of processing the transaction without a pass.

All motorists traveling on the I-70 Mountain Express Lane – including motorcycles, carpoolers and hybrids – will pay a toll. However, travelers not wishing to pay a toll can always choose to travel in the adjacent free general purpose lanes.

The I-70 Mountain Express Lane operates for 13 miles traveling eastbound between Empire and Idaho Springs for 73 days a year – only during periods of peak travel such as the weekends and holidays. When not in use, the lane will be used as a shoulder. The I-70 Mountain Express Lane is one of several incremental improvements to the I-70 Mountain Corridor, including the Veterans Memorial Tunnels project, to improve congestion.

What you need to know about the I-70 Mountain Express Lane:

  • There are two entrances and exits:

    • Enter at Empire Junction or before the Veterans Memorial Twin Tunnels.

    • Express Lane users who want to exit at Idaho Springs may use the signed Express Lane exit for Idaho Springs, prior to Exit 239.

    • Travelers exiting I-70 eastbound to US 6 at Floyd Hill (Exit 244) can enter US 6 without a charge.

  • Do not cross the solid white line; enter and exit at designated areas only.

  • No free HOV, motorcycles or trailers or trucks over 25 feet.

  • Travelers will be charged the toll price posted when they entered the Express Lane. If the price should increase or decrease while they are in the lane, drivers will pay the price posted upon entry. The toll price is the same regardless of toll entrance point, Empire or before the Veterans Memorial Tunnels.

  • The use of the lane will be impacted by weather or incidents.

    • Should an incident occur and traffic is detoured onto or off the Express Lane, no toll will be charged.

  • The Express Lane is open weekends and holidays. When not in use, it is a shoulder.

  • Get a Pass! ExpressToll saves money each time.

    • The same ExpressToll passes (stickers or switchable HOV transponders) that are used on US 36, E-470, I-25 and Northwest Parkway will work on the I-70 Mountain Express Lane.

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