Enhanced Safety Measures Coming to I-70 Mountain Corridor Express Lanes

Enhanced Safety Measures Coming to I-70 Mountain Corridor Express Lanes

Colorado is pioneering the use of advanced roadway technology to enhance safety on the I-70 Mountain Corridor Express Lanes, marking a significant step toward a safer driving experience.

In this blog post, we will cover what these changes mean for you,  the technology being used, what’s considered a violation, the grace period, and the fine amounts.

Let’s dive into the details!

First off, when does this new enforcement begin? What’s considered a violation?

The new enforcement program, set to commence on June 21, comes with a 30-day grace period. During this time, violators will receive a warning letter mailed to the registered address of the offending vehicle. But starting July 21, this leniency will be replaced with civil assessment penalties, commonly referred to as fines, for anyone who fails to comply with the established rules. These rules include using the Express Lanes when they're closed, crossing the solid yellow lines, and operating oversized vehicles in the lanes. 

The I-70 Mountain Express Lanes were designed with the primary intent to ease congestion during peak times, such as holidays and weekends. They double as shoulders during off-peak hours, providing a safe space for emergency situations and breakdowns. Yet, some drivers pose safety risks by violating the rules listed above. Especially, weaving across solid lines and driving in the lanes when they are closed.

What qualifies as an oversized vehicle?

Since the Mountain Express Lanes are narrower than a typical lane, larger vehicles that have more than two axles or exceed 25 feet in length don’t fit. This includes regular-sized vehicles towing trailers. There is simply not enough width for them to make it safely through the sharper curves on the road. 

What type of technology is being used?

After the passage of HB22-1074 by the Colorado legislature in 2022, the Colorado Transportation Investment Office was empowered to enforce Express Lanes rules using innovative roadway technology. 

This rigorous identification and enforcement process will be facilitated by a groundbreaking technology system, a first in the nation, comprising sensors, cameras, and cutting-edge software. This combination will be instrumental in detecting vehicles that weave in and out of the lane, use the lane when it's closed, or drive an oversized vehicle in the lane.

According to CDOT spokesman Tim Hoover, this innovative technology is transformative. "It will not only help us identify and penalize drivers who are endangering themselves and others, we truly believe it will help save lives and make our roads safer for everyone."

Driving in the Mountain Express Lanes when they are closed poses a substantial hazard, as a motorist could crash into a stationary vehicle, including law enforcement or maintenance vehicles. "These violations are not only dangerous, they are illegal,” Hoover reiterated. “We want motorists to arrive at their destinations safely, and we want to send a message that life-threatening bad behavior will not be tolerated.”

The big question… How much are the fines?

Violators will be subject to fines starting at $75 for a first offense if paid within 20 days. After 20 days, the fine doubles to $150.

Although the penalties will eventually apply to all Express Lane corridors in Colorado, initial enforcement efforts will concentrate on the I-70 Mountain Express Lanes, beginning with the Mountain Express Lanes in both directions from Idaho Springs to U.S. 40. As this new law takes effect, all motorists are strongly encouraged to adhere to the established rules and regulations to ensure the safety and efficiency of these vital routes.

In conclusion, the I-70 Mountain Corridor Express Lanes are adding new technology in order to create a safer driving environment. Nearly 50,000 infractions were counted in the eastbound express lanes in 2020 alone. The 30-day grace period will serve as a heads-up that these violations will now come with a fine. Spread the word about this new enforcement by telling your friends and family to keep I-70 moving and safe.

Have questions? Comment on this blog post and we will do our best to answer any questions you may have. 

Drive safely! 

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1 comment

Why not just have it open at all times? I70 just gets busier and busier every month that goes by. Just leave it open.


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