As part of continuing efforts to reduce congestion along I-70, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced plans to build a tolled, reversible hard-shoulder lane for use during peak traffic periods. The new lane is viewed as a temporary solution to traffic problems in the region as the department considers other options.
The new shoulder lane—which will be built near Empire, Colo.,—is the second part of the agency’s plan to improve traffic flow along I-70, the major east-west route through Colorado. Upon completion, the new lane will connect with the permanent eastbound third lane being added near Idaho Springs as part of the $106 million Twin Tunnels widening project.
CDOT had previously considered implementing a zipper lane, which would have made one of the existing lanes reversible according to traffic flow. A recent agency study noted that larger-scale improvements are needed to reduce congestion in the long run. Ideas suggested in the study included more extensive widening, an advanced guideway system or even high-speed rail.
The hard-shoulder lane project is slated to begin construction in summer 2014, at a total cost of $30 million.