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CDOT Mulls Converting Shoulders To Lanes On I-70 In High Country

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Interstate 70 (credit: CBS)

Interstate 70 (credit: CBS)

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Aside from the lack of snow along the Interstate 70 corridor, the only problem has been the wind.

Colorado Department of Transportation officials will admit they were bracing for the worst traffic conditions of the year, and it didn’t come. But that hasn’t slowed their desires to look toward new ways, and some outside the box thinking, to keep cars moving when traffic is worse.

“The decision was made to go to Minnesota and see how well hard shoulders work and is it something that can be implemented here in Colorado,” Bob Wilson with CDOT said.

Some of the top brass at CDOT have decided using the shoulder is a legitimate option. The plan right now is in its early stages, but there is a plan moving forward to make the shoulder on eastbound I-70 from Empire through Idaho Springs a lane during high traffic periods.

The department needs to get clearance from not only Clear Creek County but also the federal government.

An early idea within the plan is to make it a toll lane, so there’s not as much traffic in that lane, and it could still be a main artery for emergency vehicles.

“Congestion pricing could definitely be an option and it wouldn’t be something to enhance revenues, it would be something to keep traffic flows a little bit less,” Wilson said.

While CDOT has spent millions on studies for how to alleviate I-70’s problems, this new plan could be in place in about a year.

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