Update: Central 70 Express Lanes open for testing

Travel Advisory

Central/Eastern Colorado - Motorists can use the new lanes with tolls waived

(The original press release stated testing would begin June 7, but the date has changed to June 7)

DENVER — The Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado Transportation Investment Office are opening the westbound Central 70 Express Lane for testing starting on Tuesday, June 7 at 5 a.m. Testing will take place on Interstate 70 between Interstate 225 and Colorado Boulevard. Tolls will be waived while system components are tested. Motorists are encouraged to use this lane during the testing period.     

“CDOT’s Central 70 Express Lanes will improve safety and trip time reliability on one of the Denver metro area’s busiest corridors,” said CDOT’s Director of the Colorado Transportation Investment Office Nicholas Farber. “Studies show that on CDOT’s Express Lanes corridors, travelers in all lanes, including the general-purpose lanes, see time savings of anywhere from 20% to 50%. Motorists will notice a smoother and safer ride on this newly improved section of I-70.”

Motorists are currently in a temporary configuration between Brighton and Colorado boulevards, which is why testing will not extend through the full length of the Project corridor.

The Central 70 Project is a public-private partnership led by CDOT, the Colorado Transportation Investment Office, the Bridge and Tunnel Enterprise, and Kiewit Meridiam Partners. The Project includes the reconstruction of a 10-mile stretch of I-70 between Brighton Boulevard and Chambers Road, the addition of one new Express Lane in each direction, removal of the aging 57-year-old viaduct between Brighton and Colorado boulevards and installation of a four-acre cover park over a portion of the lowered interstate. The Express Lanes will span the entire 10 miles by the end of 2022.

The eastbound Central 70 Express Lane will open for testing between Colorado Boulevard and I-225 starting on June 17. The two Express Lanes were constructed to increase transportation choices and to help manage congestion on the highway. During the testing period, Express Lane users are reminded that:

Buses, High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV) and any type of vehicle can use the Express Lanes while tolls are waived.

A speed limit of 55 mph must be adhered to as the lanes are still part of an active construction zone. Speed enforcement will be in place.

To use the Central 70 Express Lanes in early 2023, tolled riders will need an ExpressToll account and pass, or they can choose to pay via a License Plate Toll (with an additional surcharge). A driver with three or more passengers can use the Central 70 Express Lanes for free with a Switchable Transponder Pass. Motorcycles can travel for free and do not need an Express Toll pass or account.

Getting an ExpressToll account and pass to use the Central 70 Express Lanes saves time and money.

“We are excited to see these Express Lanes open and enter trial mode,” said Farber. “The Central 70 Project is making tremendous progress with traffic expected to be shifted into its final alignment by July 2022. Crews are still hard at work on the cover top to finish the park by this fall.”

Using the Express Lanes Safely

During the testing period, before tolling is in place, drivers are encouraged to use the Express Lanes free of charge, and they can only enter through the dashed white lines. Tolls will be temporarily waived during this time to ensure system and technological performance. When using the lanes, drivers are reminded to not cross the solid white lines and to obey posted speed limits. The Express Lanes cannot be used to pass slower-moving vehicles.

Media staging area for live shots or to get video

The best place to get footage of motorists using the Express Lanes starting on June 7 would be the Central Park Boulevard bridge.

About the Central 70 Project

The Central 70 Project will reconstruct a 10-mile stretch of I-70, add one new Express Lane in each direction, remove the aging 57-year-old viaduct and lower the interstate between Brighton and Colorado boulevards. More information on the Project, including a list of the Project’s community commitments, are available at central70.codot.gov.

Stay Informed

  • Text Alerts - Text Central70 to 77948
  • Email Updates - Sign up for Project updates at c70.codot.gov
  • Website - c70.codot.gov - Traffic Impacts page
  • Watch progress on the webcam

Remember: Slow For The Cone Zone

The following tips are to help you stay safe while traveling through maintenance and construction work zones.

  • Do not speed in work zones. Obey the posted speed limits.
  • Stay Alert! Expect the unexpected.
  • Watch for workers. Drive with caution.
  • Don't change lanes unnecessarily.
  • Avoid using mobile devices such as phones while driving in work zones.
  • Turn on headlights so that workers and other drivers can see you.
  • Be especially alert at night while driving in work zones.
  • Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
  • Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you.
  • Anticipate lane shifts and merge when directed to do so.
  • Be patient!

Download the COtrip App!

The new FREE COtrip Planner mobile app was designed to meet the growing trend of information on mobile and tablet devices for the traveling public. The COtrip Planner app provides statewide, real-time traffic information, and works on mobile devices that operate on the iOS and Android platforms. Visit the Google Play Store (Android devices) or the Apple Store (iOS devices) to download!