C-470 express lanes project nearing completion

Three-year project expected to save motorists upwards of 18 minutes of travel time

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Officials from the Colorado Department of Transportation anticipate that the long-awaited C-470 express lanes project will wrap up at the end of 2019, likely in December.

“(The) contractor expects all lanes will be open but there might be crews on site for several months following to do finish work, perfecting some issues, landscaping etc.,” Linda Wilson, a spokeswoman for the project, said in an email correspondence. “We also have to take into consideration some of the normal obstacles that can delay a project such as weather, material availability and crew availability.”

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, with one tolled express lane continuing westbound 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.

Roughly 100,000 drivers use the segment of highway every day, according to CDOT, with volumes projected to increase 40% 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.

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