Zipper lanes pricetag: $24M |

Zipper lanes pricetag: $24M

Jeffrey Leib
The Denver Post

Installing “zipper lanes” on Interstate 70 to reduce eastbound congestion on ski-season Sundays would cost at least $24 million, state transportation officials said Wednesday.

An updated review of the project shows there are no operational hurdles to a plan that, beginning in November of 2011, would reverse the traffic flow on one westbound lane to provide three eastbound lanes on a 13-mile stretch of I-70 in the mountains.

The reversed lane would be in operation on winter Sundays between 1 p.m. and about 8 p.m., according to the Colorado Department of Transportation plan.

Such an effort would likely increase the number of accidents and would boost travel times for westbound drivers, officials said. And it is still unclear how the state, which faces a budget shortfall next year of up to $1 billion, would pay for it.

In a presentation to the Colorado Transportation Commission Wednesday, CDOT regional director Tony DeVito said using the reversed lane would cut average eastbound travel times between Georgetown and Evergreen during the busy winter Sunday travel period from 79 minutes to 41 minutes.

However, confining westbound traffic to one lane would double westbound travel times, DeVito said.

The department also is looking at a less costly alternative that would involve hardening the shoulders of I-70 through a portion of the Clear Creek County corridor to create an extra lane for eastbound traffic on winter Sundays.

Read more: CDOT proposes “zipper lanes” on I-70 as stopgap to ease ski-season tie-ups – The Denver Post

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