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I-25 HOV Express Lanes

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I-25 Express Lanes

Express Lanes: Two reversible lanes between US 36 and 20th Street in Downtown Denver

Status: Open

Hours of Operation: Peak Travel Times (reverse depending on direction of peak traffic)

Use of Lane: HOV (free in HOV lane), Buses, Single Occupant Vehicles (paying toll with an ExpressToll account and pass), Trucks (paying surcharge), Motorcyclists (free)


1) Vehicles without an ExpressToll account and pass, and those that do not meet the HOV requirements, can choose to pay through a License Plate Toll but at a higher rate than ExpressToll account holders.

2) In mid-2015, these Express Lanes will require an ExpressToll account and pass to travel for free as an HOV or carpool.

Plenary Roads Denver Assumes Operations and Maintenance Role for Toll Lanes

Plenary Roads Denver recently assumed operations and maintenance responsibilities for the I-25 Express Lanes. While that responsibility now falls on Plenary Roads Denver, ownership of the highway is always maintained by the public, through CDOT. The existing general lanes will also remain free for all commuters.

As part of the agreement, tolling services will continue to be managed by E-470, including billing and processing. Express Lanes users are reminded that they can benefit from 20 percent savings on tolls and exclusive deals, if they sign up for an ExpressToll sticker through the E-470 website.

Express Lanes and transponders on I-25 will continue to function as usual through the transition period.

Express Lanes Overview

What is the Express Lanes concept? Express Lanes maximize the efficiency of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes and help manage congestion on the highway. Rather than continuing to build lanes on congested highways, Express Lanes facilitate choice by allowing drivers to ride the bus, carpool or pay a toll. Buses and HOV vehicles are allowed in the lanes for free, while Single Occupancy Vehicles can choose to pay a toll.

How can HOVs use the lanes for free? Currently, those with two people in their vehicle can use the toll lane for free, however, starting in 2017, CDOT will be changing their Express Lanes rules regionally, requiring at least two passengers, for a total of three people, in a vehicle to use the lanes for free. Anyone with two or fewer people in their vehicle can either use the express lane and pay a toll, or use the general purpose lanes for free.

Where are the Express Lanes located? The Express Lanes includes seven miles on I-25, between downtown Denver and US 36. At this time, solo drivers/toll paying vehicles are not allowed to use the US 36 Express Lanes lanes until the lanes start to merge to I-25 near Pecos. Anything west of Pecos on US 36 is for HOV vehicles only.

CDOT is extending the Express Lanes on US 36 as part of the US 36 Express Lanes Project. The new lanes will be extended to 88th Street in Louisville (opening in 2015) and then to Table Mesa Drive in Boulder (opening in 2016).

When did the Express Lanes open on I-25? The I-25 Express Lanes opened on June 2, 2006.

Are Express Lanes being built elsewhere in Colorado? Currently CDOT is building Express Lanes on two highways – US 36 and I-25 (north of US 36).

The US 36 Express Lanes Project will build an express lane in each direction on US 36 from Federal Boulevard to Table Mesa in Boulder. The project is being built in two phases with Phase 1 (Federal Boulevard to 88th Street in Louisville) opening in 2015, and Phase 2 (88th Street to Table Mesa in Boulder) opening in 2016. These lanes will connect with the current Express Lanes on I-25. Click here for more information.

The I-25 North Express Lanes Project will add one express lane in each direction of I-25 between US 36 and 120th Avenue. This new lane will connect to the existing I-25 Express Lanes to and from downtown Denver. 

In addition, CDOT is including Express Lanes in the planning stages of other highway projects across Colorado – including I-70 East and West and C-470 – as a way to effectively manage traffic congestion.

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