News

I-70 Mountain Express Lanes Proves Beneficial for all Lanes for Second Summer

Express Lane Reduces Congestion, Improves Travel Times and Safety


DENVER—
The I-70 Mountain Express Lane has been open for two winter and two summer seasons. CDOT and the High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) today announced that the I-70 Mountain Express Lane continues to deliver reliable travel times and helps reduce traffic congestion across all lanes, including the frontage roads and the free general purpose lanes.

"We continue to notice benefits of the I-70 Mountain Express Lane, and improved safety is one of them," said David Spector, HPTE director. "Colorado's population is booming and so is recreational travel on I-70. We have to find innovative solutions to keep traffic moving, and the I-70 Mountain Express Lane delivers reliable travel times for all drivers, not just the ones in the Express Lane."

From May 29, 2017, through Sept. 4, 2017, the I-70 Mountain Express Lane was open for 31 days. The corridor saw 1.08 million vehicles, which is a two percent increase from 1.06 million vehicles in 2016. The I-70 Mountain Express Lane traffic volume also increased in 2017; the lane saw 92,700 vehicles, which is an 11 percent increase from 82,600 vehicles in 2016.

Tolls were between $5 and $6 on Saturdays and Sundays, which provided reliable travel times for drivers in the Express Lanes. In addition, the number of crashes decreased—10 crashes in 2017 compared to 14 crashes in 2016.

Summary of I-70 Mountain Express Lane's (MEXL) second summer season:

Days of operation

  • 2017 Summer Season: Memorial Day through Labor Day (May 29 - Sept. 4)
  • 31 days of operation

Capacity

  • Corridor:
    • 2017: 1.08 million vehicles
    • 2016): 1.06 million vehicles
  • Mountain Express Lane:
    • 2017: 92,700 vehicles (3,000 vehicles per day)
      8.6 percent capture rate
      *Mountain Express Lane captured 8.6 percent of all vehicles on I-70 this summer
    • 2016: 82,600 vehicles (2,850 vehicles per day); 7.8 percent capture rate

Averages by Day

  • Saturdays:
    • 2017: 29,700 vehicles per day on corridor
      550 vehicles per day in Mountain Express Lane (1.9 percent capture rate)
    • 2016: 30,300 vehicles per day on corridor
      480 vehicles per day in Mountain Express Lane (1.6 percent capture rate)
  • Sundays:
    • 2017: 39,100 vehicles per day on corridor; 5,200 vehicles per day in Mountain Express Lane (13.3 percent capture rate)
    • 2016: 41,000 vehicles per day on corridor
      4,700 vehicles per day in Mountain Express Lane (11.5 percent capture rate)

Safety and incidents

  • 2017: 16 incidents
    • 6 stalled vehicles
    • 10 crashes total, with none in the Mountain Express Lane
  • 2016: 21 incidents
    • 7 stalled vehicles
    • 14 crashes

Summary

  • Corridor volumes were generally similar to 2016.
  • The Mountain Express Lane capture rate increased slightly.
  • There were four fewer crashes this summer than in 2016.
  • Incident response times increased over last summer.

CDOT reminds drivers that the I-70 Mountain Express Lane will be open for the winter season on weekends and holidays, providing a reliable travel time for eastbound travelers. When the Express Lane is not open, including during weather events, roadway signage indicates it is closed and is used as a shoulder for emergency purposes.

Learn more about Express Lanes and HPTE.

About the High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE):
The HPTE operates as a government-owned, independent business within CDOT. It searches out innovative ways to finance projects to help Colorado fulfill its commitment to increase travel choices through options that include Express Lanes, transit, biking, walking and carpooling.

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