The new express lane is the left lane of eastbound I-70 between Hwy 40 (the Empire or Winter Park exit) and Hwy 6 at the bottom of Floyd Hill. It will only be open during peak travel days, about 73 days a year weather permitting. On the other days it functions as the shoulder for the highway. Separated from the other two eastbound lanes only by a solid white line, it may be confusing for drivers, especially those that aren’t familiar with the highway or express lanes in general.
The express lane is designed to have drivers enter at Hwy 40 and stay in the lane all 13 miles to Hwy 6. Those drivers that want to stop in Idaho Springs have a limited exit area before exit 239, the first of three Idaho Spring’s exits. The enter and exit areas are indicated by short dotted white lines instead of the solid white line that runs most of the 13 mile stretch. If you choose to stop for a while in Idaho Springs plan to be back on the road within four hours or you may incur another toll if you return to the express lane.
When the express lane is open a toll will be charged. The toll will be posted and will vary based on the congestion of the highway. It will range from $3.00 to $30.00 for those that have an express pass. If you don’t have a pass, the registered owner of the vehicle driving in the lane will receive a bill in the mail. That bill will include administrative charges that could increase the toll by up to $10.
Because this third lane functions as the shoulder when the express lane is not open, it should not be used as a passing lane. A flat tire, mechanical failure or other emergency may cause vehicles to be parked in this lane.
C-DOT anticipates the express lane to save drivers that use it around 30 minutes of travel time. If you are a frequent I-70 traveler, it may be to your advantage to pick up an express pass and save on administrative charges. To sign up, visit www.expresstoll.com and register for an account. You’ll need to know your vehicle information; make, model and license number; as well as have an email account and credit card. When you register you will be charged $35. That $35 will be placed in your account and any tolls received will be paid from those funds first. Your credit card is kept on file and additional tolls may be charged directly to your credit card. If you already have a transponder for other toll roads in the state that may work for this stretch of I-70 too. Visit the website to be sure.
Additional information regarding the express lane is available on C-DOT’s website https://www.codot.gov/programs/expresslanes/corridors/I70MtnExpress
Or here’s a link to a quick fact sheet: