Construction Phase

Work this Week
Nov. 15, 2021

Construction is complete as of November 2021 but testing of the westbound I-70 Mountain Express Lane will continue into 2022. Tolls are waived during testing.

Some of the improvements made by this project include:

  • Added a 12-mile-long, 11-feet-wide westbound Express Lane from just east of the Veterans Memorial Tunnels to just west of the US 40/Empire interchange
  • Created four emergency pull-out areas along westbound I-70 and two along eastbound I-70
  • Upgraded fiberoptics along the corridor
  • Fixed drainage issues along the I-70 corridor
  • Installed electronic infrastructure for Express Lane operations including vehicle detectors, cameras and overhead electronic signs
  • Improved the stability of the mountainside just west of Mile Point 239 to minimize rockslides
  • Constructed about four miles of retaining walls to accommodate adding a lane in the center median area where the westbound lanes were several feet higher than the eastbound lanes  
  • Improved access to westbound I-70 from the Dumont Port-of-Entry to minimize conflicts between slower moving trucks merging onto the highway and westbound I-70 through traffic
  • Added an electronic queue detection system along eastbound I-70 near the US 40/Empire interchange to warn drivers of slowing traffic ahead

About the Project

Drivers can now use the Westbound I-70 Mountain Express Lane during peak travel periods when the lane is open for testing. Tolls will be waived during the testing period.

The Westbound Mountain Express Lane spans about 12 miles from the Veterans Memorial Tunnels in Idaho Springs to the US 40/Empire interchange. Like the Eastbound Express Lane, this lane will be open only on weekends and holidays as peak traffic volumes warrant. At all other times, this lane will serve as a shoulder for vehicle breakdowns and other emergencies.  

During peak travel periods when the Westbound I-70 Mountain Express Lane is in use, drivers can use any of these four emergency pull-out areas if needed: 

  • Mile Point 241.5 – just west of the Veterans Memorial Tunnels
  • Mile Point 236 – two miles west of Fall River Road
  • Mile Point 233.3 – just west of the Weigh Station
  • Mile Point 232.7 – just west of Lawson 

Due to the width of the lane, only passenger vehicles and motorcycles are allowed. Trucks and trailers with more than two axles or longer than 25 feet are not permitted in the lane.

Tolling in the Westbound I-70 Mountain Express Lane will begin later this year.

Project Benefits

  • Driver Choice –In keeping with CDOT’s new Whole System – Whole Safety initiative, the new Express Lane will provide westbound drivers with a safer and more reliable choice during peak travel times.
  • Improved Infrastructure – The addition of an Express Lane along westbound I-70 is a much-needed improvement to the area’s infrastructure in support of economic growth. 
  • Driver Safety – Safety barriers, guardrails, and end caps are in place along the construction zone from Exit 235 to Exit 231. These safety measures will be implemented during all phases of civil construction.
  • Advanced Technology – The construction of a westbound Express Lane and retaining walls is incorporating leading-edge technologies and materials to maximize driver safety. The installation of fiber optics, new electronic signage and a tolling system will achieve CDOT’s goal of a safer, more connected and mobile I-70 mountain corridor.