From August 2016 to July 2017, a team studied the Westbound Peak Period Shoulder Lane project via a concept development process. Elected officials in the corridor, representatives of citizen groups, and state and federal agencies worked through the I-70 Mountain Corridor Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process to review issues of concern in the mountain corridor and recommend future transportation improvements.

The goal of the concept development process was to identify technical and stakeholder-critical issues, and transportation improvements—with a focus on improvements that could realistically be built in five years, or by 2022. The recommendation of the concept development process for the area west of the Veterans Memorial Tunnels is to proceed with a project that is similar to the I-70 Mountain Express Lane (also known as the Eastbound Peak Period Shoulder Lane).

The I-70 Mountain Express Lane, built in 2015 on eastbound I-70, has proven to be successful; it has reduced travel times by 21 minutes and improved crash clean-up times by four minutes during peak periods when it's in operation.

The concept development process also identified issues of concern, environmental resources to consider and concepts that can be eliminated from further consideration.

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The I-70 Mountain corridor is a magnificent, scenic place in close proximity to the Denver Metro area. Human elements are woven through breathtaking natural features. The integration of these diverse elements has occurred over the course of time. The corridor is a recreational destination for the world, a route for interstate and local commerce and a unique place to live.

I-70 is also federally designated as a high-priority corridor, a significant part of the defense network, a major east/west continental corridor and a major economic corridor for Colorado. For many local communities along the corridor, I-70 is the lifeline, primary access and only connection to other communities.

Current I-70 roadway geometry is constrained with narrow shoulders and tight curves that impact safety, mobility, accessibility, and capacity for travelers and residents. In a manner that respects the unique environmental, historic, community and recreational resources in Clear Creek County, westbound improvements are needed to lessen delays caused by peak period volumes.


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