CDOT Continuing to Test Innovative Options for Congestion Relief on I-70 Mountain Corridor

March 21, 2014 - Metro Denver Colorado/CDOT Region 1, Mountain Corridor - The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is looking at a variety of options to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion along the I-70 mountain corridor during peak travel times. “Change Your Peak Time” and “Bus to Shoulder” are two of these programs.

CDOT’s Change Your Peak Time campaign began this year and works to encourage motorists to skip the mountain return rush between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays, and choose instead to “Press Play, Avoid Delay” by spending extra time having fun in the mountains rather than spending that time in peak traffic on I-70. CDOT has partnered with the I-70 Coalition, a consortium representing the mountain communities and resorts, to give travel tips and travel forecasts, and to offer discounts, deals and incentives for travelers interested in avoiding traffic by staying in the mountains for an extra hour or two. Peak Time Deals at are updated regularly, and list locations of restaurants, entertainment options and retailers along the I-70 corridor offering weekend discounts.

The I-70 Peak Time Challenge is catching on. The first winner of the challenge showed us that it is possible to Change Your Peak Time to have more fun in the mountains and avoid peak time traffic on the weekends.  As the first winner of the I-70 Peak Time Challenge, Erin M. told us how she took advantage of dinner out and Keystone's night skiing, hitting the road back to Denver at 8 p.m. and spent less than 90 minutes driving. For maximizing her play, minimizing her time in traffic, and telling her story on, Erin will be rewarded with four lift tickets and two nights lodging at Copper Mountain Resort.

There are still two chances to win a mountain getaway.  Weekend mountain travelers can simply post a message to and tell us how they spent their mountain adventure, how they avoided eastbound I-70 peak traffic, and, if applicable, which Peak Time Deals were used.

How to enter:

  • Be sure to include starting and ending destinations (Keystone-Denver, Copper Mountain - Boulder, Breckenridge Resort - Fort Collins, etc.) and travel time.
  • Post a photo/s along with story.
  • Enter by March 21 to win a weekend getaway at Keystone Resort; or between March 22 and April 7 to win a weekend getaway at Winter Park Resort.
  • Entries will be judged on creativity of activities, actual time vs average time of a winter eastbound commute, photo proof of travel conditions on I-70 and the participation in Peak Time Deals.

In addition to “Change Your Peak Time”, CDOT tested a new pilot program called Bus to Shoulder on eastbound I-70 last Sunday. Weather permitting, this testing is scheduled to continue this Sunday, March 23. CDOT will be implementing this Bus to Shoulder pilot program on eastbound I-70 over the course of the next two weekends. This test pilot program is being implemented in order to gather data and determine the potential benefits of allowing certain authorized busses to bypass congestion by utilizing the existing shoulder lane. The Bus to Shoulder pilot program is being tested for the use of busses only and is not being tested as an option for passenger vehicles.

CDOT has identified four segments of eastbound I-70 from the Eisenhower Tunnel and Idaho Springs to allow buses to utilize the shoulder lane during peak travel times. The bus will be allowed to use the shoulder only when general traffic speeds are below 35 miles per hour. The bus will only be allowed to go 15 miles per hour faster than traffic is flowing in the general purpose lanes. The driver will be required to yield to traffic and the primary use of the shoulder will still be for break downs.

The pilot program will run two buses simultaneously with one allowed to use the shoulder when appropriate and the other to stay in general traffic. We will collect data on trip travel times for both buses to document potential time savings through the use of the shoulder. Motorists traveling along this corridor will see a black and white regulatory sign in place prior to the beginning of all segments.

If the program proves effective from a time savings and safety stand point, a fully implemented program will be considered for peak travel times along the I-70 mountain corridor for busses. This pilot program is weather permitting, in the case of adverse weather along the I-70 mountain corridor this weekend, this test program will not be implemented.

To receive real-time updates about road conditions in your area, visit and click on the green cell phone icon in the upper right hand corner of the page. Information about weekly lane closures will be available at Live road conditions are available, downloading the CDOT Mobile app or by calling 511 from anywhere in the state. Updates are also available via Twitter @coloradodot and be sure to “Like” our Facebook page at