Request Free Consultation

I-70 Mountain Express Lane Fines Aim to Enforce Safe Driving

Request Free Consultation
November 5, 2023 Car Accidents, Personal Injury

Colorado’s I-70 peak period shoulder lanes (PPSL) are designed to ease congestion and enhance road safety during peak travel times. These lanes are typically open for use during specific times of the day when traffic is heaviest, such as rush hours. The lanes that run along the 13-mile corridor between Veterans Memorial Tunnel and Empire act as an I-70 mountain express lane. It is open to motorists on weekends and holidays.

I-70 PPSLs enhance road safety by reducing traffic congestion, preventing bottlenecks, and allowing emergency vehicles to move freely when needed. These lanes are part of a broader effort to improve the efficiency and safety of the road network.

Motorists will face fines for weaving in and out of the express lane, treating it as a passing lane, or for driving in the lane when it is closed. The rule also bars oversized vehicles from using the lane. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will use sensors and cameras to detect law violations. Motorists will receive citations in the mail.

If you’ve been seriously injured in a crash on I-70 mountain express lane due to other driver’s negligence, contact a seasoned car accident attorney  for legal guidance immediately.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today!

How Does the Mountain Express Lane Work to Improve Road Safety?

I-70 Mountain Express Lane Fines Aim to Enforce Safe Driving

Peak-period shoulder lanes on the mountain corridor alleviate traffic congestion and enhance road safety by temporarily converting the inside shoulder into an extra lane during peak traffic hours. When not open as an express lane, the lanes are shoulders.

Here’s how they work in the mountain corridor:

  • Additional Lane Usage: During peak traffic periods, the shoulder of the road on the mountain corridor is temporarily converted into an extra travel lane. This provides added capacity for vehicles during times of high congestion.
  • Traffic Flow Improvement: By using the shoulder as an extra lane, traffic flow in the mountain corridor can be improved, especially during peak periods when many people head to or from mountain destinations.
  • Safety Measures: Safety is a top priority. These lanes are designed with safety measures in place to ensure they are only open when it is safe to use them as lanes. Speed limits may change to maintain safety, and other drivers may need to take other precautions.
  • Emergency Access: In emergencies, emergency vehicles can use the shoulder to quickly respond to incidents. This helps ensure that emergency services can reach incidents in the mountain corridor promptly.

Electronic signs along the mountain corridor inform drivers when the shoulder lane is open or closed. These signs tell drivers when they can use the shoulder lane.

I-70 Mountain Express Lane Fines

With the passage of HB22-1074, the Colorado Legislature approved PPSLs and fines for drivers who use the lanes illegally. This includes weaving in and out of the lanes, essentially using them as passing lanes, and driving in the express lane when it is closed. The legislation also bars large vehicles from using the lane. The bill defines large vehicles as semi-trailers, motor vehicles with more than two axles, and vehicles that are 25 feet long or longer.

CDOT is rolling out enforcement in stages, giving motorists a free grace period as it adds express lanes to what it regulates. The grace period for the I-70 mountain express lane has expired and motorists are now subject to $75 to $250 fines for violations. CDOT monitors violations with sensors and cameras. The program is the first of its kind in the nation for a highway enforcement program, according to the Denver Post.

Colorado began adding the PPSLs in 2015, with the most recent express lanes opened in 2022. Legislators proposed them after a recent study showed that nearly 50,000 vehicles used the lanes when they were closed.

While the mountain express lanes make travel safer overall, negligent drivers may still cause serious crashes. Drivers weaving in and out of lanes or speeding along closed lanes can endanger other vehicles. The fines may encourage drivers to follow the rules and safely share the road.

What Types of Traffic Dangers are PPSLs Designed to Help?

Colorado’s Peak Period Shoulder Lanes are designed to address several traffic dangers and improve overall road safety.

Here are some of the key dangers these lanes aim to mitigate:

  • Traffic Congestion: PPSLs help alleviate traffic congestion during peak hours by providing an additional lane, which reduces the risk of rear-end collisions and other accidents often associated with stop-and-go traffic. They also reduce the risk of traffic backing up onto entrance and exit ramps, which can lead to dangerous merging and weaving.
  • Reduced Speed Variability: By opening the shoulder lanes during peak periods, mountain express lanes maintain a more consistent traffic speed, minimizing abrupt speed changes and improving overall traffic flow. This can reduce the likelihood of collisions caused by rapid speed differentials.
  • Lane Changing Hazards: With the addition of PPSLs, drivers may need to change lanes less frequently. Fewer lane changes mean a reduced risk of sideswipe accidents.
  • Improved Visibility: In some cases, the PPSLs provide better sightlines and visibility, reducing the risk of accidents caused by limited visibility, especially in mountainous terrain where weather conditions can change rapidly.

The use of variable message signs and other technology ensures that the PPSLs are only open when conditions are safe. This consistent management of traffic flow helps minimize the risk of accidents.

Unfortunately, negligent motorists who ignore the express lane rules still pose a hazard on mountain roads and highways throughout the Denver area. Drivers who are in car accidents resulting in injuries may file a personal injury claim to obtain compensation for injuries and losses.

Additional Benefits of Mountain Express Lanes

The I-70 Mountain Express Lanes provide a more efficient and reliable transportation option for travelers while promoting safety, reducing congestion, and supporting continued investment in the improvement of the I-70 mountain corridor.

Providing an express option helps make travel more predictable and reliable, allowing commuters and tourists heading to Colorado’s mountain destinations to plan their trips with greater certainty.

The express lanes reduce travel times, making it more convenient for both local residents and visitors to access mountain areas, ski resorts, and recreational attractions.

The mountain express lanes use variable tolling rates based on traffic conditions. The toll rates adjust to encourage carpooling and manage the demand for the lanes. The state may invest revenue generated from express lane tolls in transportation infrastructure improvements in the I-70 mountain corridor, helping to support ongoing maintenance and capacity enhancements.

Express lanes also reduce the environmental impact of traffic by optimizing traffic flow and reducing congestion. They lessen the environmental impact of idling vehicles and slow-moving traffic, which can contribute to air pollution and fuel consumption.

Contact Fuicelli & Lee Injury Lawyers Today

While the I-70 mountain express lane should make travel to Colorado’s peaks safer and more efficient, negligent drivers may still injure other motorists in traffic crashes. If a serious crash injured you or killed someone you love, you may file a personal injury claim or wrongful death case.

Keith Fuicelli

Keith Fuicelli, Denver Car Accident Lawyer

The experienced Denver personal injury lawyers at Fuicelli & Lee know which traffic laws may affect your I-70 mountain express lane claim. We can work as your advocate, securing compensation and justice for your losses. Our team is dedicated to fighting for justice on your behalf, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.

Contact Fuicelli & Lee today. Call us at (303) 444-4444 for your free consultation, or fill out the contact form on this website.