DENVER—The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) received two separate awards recognizing the I-70 Mountain Express Lane for delivering superior customer service and an innovative solution for a complex transportation challenge.
CDOT received Gov. John Hickenlooper’s inaugural Governor’s Elevation Award in the Superior Customer Service category for the I-70 Mountain Express Lane project, which reduced average travel times on eastbound I-70 between Empire and Idaho Springs by 18 to 50 percent through the creation of a wide shoulder. That shoulder operates as a third travel lane only during peak travel periods. CDOT’s successful delivery of this project led to stakeholder support and the lane opening on schedule.
“The I-70 Mountain Express Lane shows that Express Lanes really work for all drivers, including drivers in the free general purpose lanes,” said HPTE Director David Spector. “This innovative solution has proven its ability to safely move record traffic, and allows drivers to spend less time in their cars on their way home from the mountains.”
The I-70 Mountain Express Lane project was honored with the 2016 Innovative Transportation Solution of the Year award by the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) at its annual awards luncheon. The project was bestowed this honor because it helped solve a longstanding transportation problem in Colorado with an innovative solution.
The project resulted in 15 percent more throughput and 18 percent faster speeds across all lanes of eastbound I-70 during high traffic volumes on the weekends.
The project delivered an additional lane without expanding the footprint of the highway and implemented many technologically advanced features—including active traffic management and dynamic pricing—to help with the management of the new Express Lane. Throughout the project, women from CDOT and its consultants led the charge.
About the I-70 Mountain Express Lane project
CDOT’s $72 million I-70 Mountain Express Lane project reduced congestion and travel time along I-70 between Empire and Idaho Springs by converting the eastbound I-70 shoulder into an Express Lane used during peak travel times only. Through this innovative strategy, an extra travel lane can be added during peak travel times, such as weekends and holidays, to guarantee a reliable travel speed.
This tactic diverts up to 900 vehicles to reduce congestion along this 13-mile stretch of the I-70 mountain corridor and adjacent frontage roads. With this project, CDOT officials are facilitating commerce, freight movement and access to recreational activities, while helping local mountain communities and saving travelers time.