Construction is complete on the new eastbound I-70 toll lane that takes skiers from Denver to a majority of Colorado's ski resorts. According to Vail Daily, the Colorado Department of Transportation is now in the process of testing the new electronic signs, license plate cameras and tolling equipment before opening the lane this Saturday, December 12. While the lane will be open for the first time, drivers will not be charged any fees for this weekend only.
Toll rates on the 13-mile stretch will vary from $3 to $30 depending on the amount of congestion, making this the priciest toll in the nation.
The new lane between Empire Junction and Idaho Springs is actually a temporary solution. The plan is for the Express Road to function 73 days per year as a toll lane—think busy ski and summer weekends and holidays. When not in service as a toll lane, it will be used as a shoulder.
The toll lane will be open to all 2-axle vehicles under 25-feet long (no trucks or RVs) with no price preference awarded to carpoolers and single drivers, one of many policies we were surprised by. The fluctuating price, which will be charged via a dashboard transponder, will be set with the goal of maintaining a volume of 750 to 900 vehicles per hour, guaranteeing a speed of 45 mph, which would save drivers 30-minutes on the return trip.
Drivers should enter and exit the toll lane in designated areas. Once commuters enter the toll lane, they are charged for the entire 13-mile stretch.
Will this express toll lane be a hit or a miss? We'll get a first look at how it performs this weekend. With seven out of the eight ski areas along the I-70 corridor up and running, the crowds should be heading for the hills en masse.
·Colorado's most expensive toll lane, the I-70 Mountain Express Lane, to open [Vail Daily]
·What Impact Will Colorado's New I-70 Toll Lane Have? [Curbed Ski]
·10 Things You Need To Know About Colorado's I-70 Toll Lane [Curbed Ski]
· Huge Tolls on a Mountain Road Could Help Fix Our Highways [Wired]