IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – The Colorado Department of Transportation is now charging drivers to use the new express lane along Interstate 70 in the high country.

The eastbound toll lane opened this weekend in hopes of easing traffic for people heading home from the mountains.

The charge over the weekend was $3 for driving in the express toll lane. Traffic was very light on Sunday. Since it’s Christmas week vacationers are spending more than a few days up in the high country. But inevitably there will be times in the near future when eastbound I-70 turns into a virtual parking lot. If that’s the case, $3 for the express toll lane will rise to $10, $15 and some days even $30.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“I can see myself paying $20 or more. We pay $20 just to get a parking spot when we got to Keystone. If we don’t have to wait a couple of hours to get to the Springs it’s really invaluable,” Ryan Jones from Colorado Springs said.

CDOT says the goal is to keep traffic moving along at 40 to 45 miles per hour between Empire and the Veterans Memorial Twin Tunnels.

“I probably would pay $30,” Lauren Narrows from Breckenridge said.

“I’d stay in the lane,” Jerry Gonzales from Rifle said.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

For those who want to use the express lane heading east, CDOT wants them to get on at Empire. Do not decide later to get on because CDOT says crossing over the solid white line will lead to a traffic ticket.

CDOT says market forces will help them decide how much they will charge to breeze past bumper to bumper traffic.

CDOT cameras take pictures of license plates and send a bill in the mail. Drivers can cut down on the charges by getting an express toll account.

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