Motorists should be able to travel along C-470 from Wadsworth Boulevard to Interstate 25 without the disruption of construction by summer 2019.
The Colorado Department of Transportation held its fourth and final public presentation on the C-470 expansion project on Dec. 5 at the Hilton Garden Inn at Highlands Ranch, 1050 Plaza Drive. About 20 CDOT representatives and contractors and 30 residents attended.
The C-470 Express Lanes project — which kicked off in late 2016 — will add two tolled express lanes westbound from I-25 to Colorado Boulevard, near the South University Boulevard exit, narrowing to one from Colorado Boulevard to Wadsworth Boulevard. One express lane will be added to the eastbound stretch from Wadsworth Boulevard to I-25. The project will also see bridges and overpasses widened, curves realigned and the addition of noise walls along populated parts of the corridor, among other tweaks, according to CDOT materials.
The project is expected to save motorists upwards of 18 minutes of travel time on the roughly 12-mile stretch between I-25 and Wadsworth Boulevard during rush hour. Tolls will vary depending on traffic flow and would range up to $6 to travel the entire express-lane corridor during peak hours.
The goal is to keep all motorists moving at 45 mph or faster.
Tamara Rollison, regional communications manager at CDOT, emphasized that motorists will have the choice of using the toll lanes or the existing lanes.
“They can take the general-purpose lanes for free like they always have or, for those times they need to reach a destination faster, they can take the express lanes,” Rollison said.
Roxborough resident Shawn Benson attended the open house to get up to speed on the schedule of the project. He's anxious for construction to be completed and foresees himself taking the toll lanes to bypass the growing amount of traffic.
“It's inconvenient, everyone knows that,” Benson said. “But like of lot of big projects, it will be worth it.”
A Highlands Ranch resident, who would like his name withheld for privacy, had the opposite outlook. He will not be using the toll lanes, he said.
“I don't like the idea that you have to pay for convenience,” the resident said at the open house. “We are all taxpayers.”
Roughly 100,000 drivers use the segment of highway every day, according to CDOT, with volumes projected to increase 40 percent by 2035.
Douglas County funded $10 million of the project's $276 million cost. An additional $110.6 million came from state and federal funding. Toll revenue will fund the remaining balance, along with costs of highway maintenance and operation of the express lanes.
For convenience and cost savings, motorists can purchase an express lanes pass at www.expresstoll.com. After creating an account, a customer will receive a transponder to place inside of his or her vehicle. Tolls will be automatically deducted from the customer's pre-paid toll account.
“You don't have to pay administrative costs,” Rollison said. “It's easy.”
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