June 26, 2017 - Express Lane reduces congestion, improves travel times and makes travel safer


DENVER – The I-70 Mountain Express Lane has been open for two winter seasons and one summer season, and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) announced today that it delivers more consistent, faster speeds and reduced travel times for all lanes, including general purpose lanes, along the I-70 corridor.

During the 2016-2017 winter season, the I-70 corridor saw a 9 percent increase in vehicle volume -- 1.12 million vehicles comparing to 1.03 million vehicles in 2016. The I-70 Mountain Express Lane also saw an increase in vehicle volume: 89,800 vehicles, comparing to 42,600 vehicles last year, which is a 111 percent increase in vehicle volume.

“The Mountain Express Lane helps keep traffic moving as Colorado’s population and recreational traveler numbers increase,” said David Spector, HPTE Director. “We have to find innovative solutions to keep traffic flowing, and this winter the Mountain Express Lane once again proved that all users of the corridor see reduced travel times.”

According to a survey of Mountain Express Lane users this spring, 60 percent of the 8,509 respondents take the I-70 Mountain Express Lane to avoid traffic, and 86 percent would like to see a westbound Express Lane in the future.

Summary of I-70 Mountain Express Lane’s (MEXL) second winter season:

  • Corridor volumes increased by 9 percent this winter over last winter

  • Use increased by 111 percent this winter

  • Incidents decreased by 22 percent

  • Incident response times were 4 minutes quicker this winter

  • Capacity:

    • Winter season increased by 8.7 percent compared to last year

    • The corridor had 1.12 m

    • The corridor had 1.12 million vehicles compared to last winter season average of 1.03 million vehicles; Express Lane captured an average of 89,800 vehicles or 8 percent, compared to an average of only four percent last winter season

    • Mountain Express Lane had an average of 2,600 VPD (Vehicles per Day) compared to 1,200 VPD last year

  • Safety and Incidents:

    • Corridor incidents were down 22 percent with 21 total incidents compared to 27 incidents last year:

      • Three in Express Lane; three straddled Express Lane and GP lanes; and 15 in GP lanes

    • Averaged 18 minutes between an incident reported and cleared, which is four minutes quicker than last year

    • Time to clear corridor back-ups continued to improve substantially

Visitors and residents along the corridor are noticing benefits of the Mountain Express Lane,” said Margaret Bowes, I-70 Coalition Director. “With more consistent travel times and faster speeds on I-70, we also noticed less congestion on frontage roads.”

The I-70 Mountain Express Lane is only open weekends and holidays. When the Express Lane is not open, roadway signage indicates it is closed and is used as a shoulder for emergency purposes. Historically, the summer season has more traffic and for longer hours of the day than the winter season. Also, summer traffic has more trailers and recreational vehicles in the corridor, which are not permitted in the Express Lane.

“The Mountain Express Lane has also proven capable of handling higher summer traffic volumes. With the July Fourth holiday weekend approaching, the I-70 Mountain Express Lane will help to keep people moving and spending less time in their cars,” said Spector.  

Learn more about Express Lanes at and more on the High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) at