Construction to Begin on Eastbound I-70 Peak Period Shoulder Lane

July 16, 2014 - Central Eastern Colorado/CDOT Region 1 - Clear Creek County - The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is kicking off the Eastbound I-70 Peak Period Shoulder Lane (PPSL) project today that will create a temporary eastbound express lane between Idaho Springs and Empire.

Major construction activity will begin this week and completion for this project is scheduled for Fall 2015.   

The project, part of CDOT’s comprehensive plan to improve travel in the I-70 Mountain Corridor, will upgrade 13-miles of Eastbound I-70 within CDOT’s existing right of way. The upgrades will create a wide shoulder that, during peak travel periods, will operate as a third travel lane that will be a tolled option for motorists. The express lane will be dynamically priced to keep traffic moving meaning that prices will fluctuate depending on the amount of traffic in the tolled lane. Prices will be lower when the lane is being underutilized during peak times but as congestion in the lane increases, the price of the toll will increase as well.

Utilizing the shoulder to create an express lane within the existing I-70 right-of-way during peak periods instead of adding a full lane provides several benefits:

  • Reducing travel time from the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels to the top of Floyd Hill by as much as 48-percent
  • Providing drivers with the choice of a new optional lane
  • Capitalizing on previous improvements made in the corridor
  • Allowing for faster speeds in all lanes, thus decreasing overall traffic time
  • Improving safety

“The 13-mile I-70 Eastbound Peak Period Shoulder Lane Project is an innovative approach to maximizing use of our existing highway infrastructure when it is needed most,” said CDOT Resident Engineer for the Mountain Corridor, Benjamin Acimovic.  “By using the shoulder instead of adding a full lane, we are striving to balance the needs of the traveling public with those of the natural environment and local communities adjacent to the highway.”

Mountain Corridor Constructors, a partnership led by URS Corporation and supported by Lawrence Construction Company will lead the construction efforts. The first phase of shoulder improvements are scheduled to begin at US 40 in Empire and work their way East to Idaho Springs.  The project will also replace the SH 103 bridge over I-70 and reconfigure Exit 241 on the East side of Idaho Springs.

The construction phase of the PPSL will build on prior community member dialogue efforts with local representatives, special interest groups and regulatory agencies in order to keep stakeholders abreast of critical project updates.  Improving our roadways is critical to meeting the transportation needs of Colorado and ongoing collaboration is essential for an effective interim solution.

PROJECT INFORMATION LINE:  For information about this project or to leave a message, call the project information line at 303-223-6581 or visit  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.

For information regarding CDOT projects statewide, log on to, download the CDOT Mobile app or call 511 from anywhere in the state. 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