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CDOT will keep I-70 mountain express lanes open longer during Thanksgiving, Christmas weeks

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Posted at 2:29 PM, Nov 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-21 16:30:36-05

The Colorado Department of Transportation will keep Interstate 70 mountain express lanes open longer over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday weeks, CDOT said in a news release Tuesday.

“The public invested significant dollars to build these lanes, and as a matter of public trust, we need to make sure they are open when people need them,” Gov. Jared Polis wrote n a letter to CDOT Monday. “This means weekends, holiday weeks, peak tourism seasons and the like. These extra lanes should be available as options to Coloradans and visitors who want to get out of traffic and choose to pay to use them, which also reduces traffic in the free lanes.”

The express lanes are not as wide as regular highway lanes, and the Federal Highway Administration mandates they can only be open a limited number of days per year, according to the news release from CDOT. Right now, the westbound lanes can be used as express lanes 125 years and 965 hours per year at most. The eastbound lanes are limited to 100 days and 1,168 hours a year at most. The rest of the time, they are designated for emergency breakdowns only.

CDOT will open the westbound lanes during Thanksgiving week from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. (and later if needed). Eastbound I-70 will be accessible 9 a.m.-8 p.m. on:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 22
  • Thursday, Nov. 23 (Thanksgiving Day)
  • Friday, Nov. 24
  • Saturday, Nov. 25
  • Sunday, Nov. 26

For Christmas week, the mountain express lanes will be open 24 hours a day on:

  • Saturday, Dec. 23
  • Sunday, Dec. 24
  • Monday, Dec. 25 (Christmas Day)
  • Tuesday, Dec. 26
  • Wednesday, Dec. 27
  • Thursday, Dec. 28
  • Friday, Dec. 29
  • Saturday, Dec. 30
  • Sunday, Dec. 31st (New Year’s Eve)
  • Monday, Jan. 1 (New Year’s Day)

RVs, big trucks and vehicles pulling trailers, cannot use the I-70 mountain lanes.

CDOT will suspend construction midday Wednesday, Nov. 22. Projects will resume on Monday, Nov. 27.

“Many Coloradans travel over the holidays through the mountains for winter recreation or just to celebrate the season with family and friends,” Gov. Polis said in his letter to CDOT. “This year, I want their travels through the mountain corridor to be as congestion-free as possible.”


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