If you are driving through the Express Lanes and the tolls change, what happens? What notification will there be of the toll price change?
Drivers will be charged the toll price posted when they entered the Express Lane. If the price should increase or decrease while they are in the lane, drivers will pay the price posted upon entry, not pay the difference. If there is an accident in Express Lane, drivers will not be charged a toll.
Who can use the lane? Is there free carpooling?
All drivers choosing to use the I-70 Mountain Express Lane will need to pay a toll. Drivers can save money every time with an ExpressToll account and pass. There will be no free HOV carpooling or motorcycle option, no trailers or trucks. The two free general purpose lanes will always be open and available when the Express Lanes is open, providing drivers a choice.
How will drivers be prevented from using the Express Lane on days it is not in operation?
In addition to the overhead electronic signs that will inform drivers the Express Lane is closed, CDOT is working with law enforcement agencies to encourage their support in monitoring conditions and issuing citations when necessary to discourage drivers from using the lane on days it is closed. The website, cotrip.org, will have updates, also notifications can be sent to people who sign up, letting them know the open/closed status of the I-70 Mountain Express Lane at codot.gov.
If there is an accident on I-70, will drivers be permitted to use the Express Lane to maneuver around it?
If an incident occurs in the Express Lane, no tolls will be collected during the time it takes to clear traffic through the area.
How will incidents in the Express Lane itself be managed?
If an accident or some other type of incident occurs in the Express Lane itself, an Incident Management Plan, working with local agencies to clear it as quickly as possible. This could include using one of two emergency pull-off areas; one near Dumont and the other just west of Fall River Road.
Will emergency service vehicles be charged for using the Express Lane?
Emergency vehicles will be exempt from tolls if they are responding to an incident or transporting a patient.
Will drivers be able to stop for food or gas and get back into the Express Lane without being charged twice?
There will be a grace period of four hours during which time drivers may leave the Express Lane to stop in the mountain communities for services without being charged a second time.
Do drivers need to have a switchable transponder to drive through this corridor?
While having a switchable HOV transponder will be more convenient for drivers who might travel other Express Lane corridors in the state, because the I-70 Mountain Express Lane does not have an HOV component, a sticker tag is sufficient for this corridor. ExpressToll accounts and passes can be ordered at www.expresstoll.com or (303) 537-3470. If you do not have a pass of any kind, you will be charged a higher fee for a License Plate Toll.
Will drivers still be able to use three lanes through the Veterans Memorial Tunnel without charge?
Yes, the last toll collection point will be located just west of the Veterans Memorial Tunnels.
When will the Express Lane be in operation?
Express Lane operations are limited to 73 days a year during peak travel periods. The initial plan is to open the lane on Saturdays and Sundays during the peak travel months of December through March and June through August. The lane will also be open on holidays when traffic volumes are typically higher in the mountains. We will continually monitor traffic volumes, however, and we are not precluded from opening the Express Lane on other days when there is heavy traffic.
What will the toll rates be?
The base rate for drivers with an ExpressToll account will be $3 (the rate for license plate tolls will be higher). Because this lane uses a responsive pricing system, toll prices will change depending on the number of vehicles in the lane. As traffic volume in the Express Lane increases so will the toll prices and overhead message boards throughout the corridor will display current pricing. These price fluctuations are designed to balance traffic volume in the express lane to provide more reliable travel times.
What outreach is being done to explain to the general public how this Express Lane operates?
In addition to an extensive paid media campaign that will launch just prior to the opening of the Express Lane in December 2015, CDOT is reaching out to the ski industry and resorts and lodges to share this information with their customers. We are also targeting the rental car agencies at Denver International Airport to keep visitors informed. Lastly, we are working with communication professionals from the various counties, towns and local organizations along the I-70 corridor to help share this information with their stakeholders.