Quandary talks tolls and boating rules
Is it true I-70 is going to be a toll road?
Had your eyes on those construction crews, eh? Well yes, this is partially true. The entirety of Interstate 70 won’t become a toll road, but the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is in the process of creating what they have deemed the I-70 Mountain Express Lane. While you are probably waiting with bated breath like a kid at the newest Disneyland attraction, try not to make yourself hyperventilate just yet. You see, in this nod to George Orwell, CDOT will be monitoring when I-70 receives the most use and will adjust the cost of this lane to meet the demand. This isn’t CDOT’s first effort to ease I-70 travel pains, as they have recently added metered lighting, stoplights on high-traffic exits and even coupons and deals for travelers who stay in the High Country an extra day, but alas it has been to little avail. So, construction crews are out busting butt this summer to try and get this express lane open by the fall.
Think of the lane as the carrot and stick portion of your commute. The lane will be incentivized during low-traffic times where it will cost a relatively low amount to use it, and then during peak traffic times the prices will shoot up. It’s a little reminiscent of price gouging, but do what you can get away with, right?
Where will this miracle lane come from? Well, the nice thing is it will use existing space. Instead of having to completely widen I-70, the lane is being built using the existing shoulder on a 13-mile stretch in the eastbound direction. On the CDOT website, it claims this lane “reduces travel time by nearly half from the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels to the top of Floyd Hill, resulting in an average 30-minute time savings.” Unfortunately, as we all know, accidents often cause the biggest slow-downs on I-70 and there is no word yet as to how much it will cost you to avoid those. The website also bills the toll lane as providing “drivers with the choice of a new more reliable travel lane.” Doesn’t that make you rest easy about the rest of the lanes? In all, this project will cost $72 million to complete, but you can bet they’ll get it back, one toll at a time.
In case I lost you at the word “coupons,” this website (http://goi70.com/deals) has a list of the deals offered for travelers who forgo the peak travel times.
Who has the right of way on lake dillon?
Like any transportation, there are rules and unwritten rules in the world of boating. On Lake Dillon you see a little bit of everything from stand-up paddleboarders to ocean-worthy sail boats, so it’s important to know who owns the water ways. The simplest rules are the unwrittens: 1. If the other boat is much bigger, it wins. Generally, the little guys are more agile and so can change their path to get out of the way of bigger boats. Also, why fight a losing battle? You know the pontoon boat can capsize your dinghy so don’t risk it. 2. If you can’t see the other boat’s crew, or think they can’t see you, let it go. 3. If you aren’t sure, give way to the other vessel. Basically, drive, paddle or sail defensively and you should be alright.
I know, I’ve just put a lot of power in your hands, leaving it up to you whether you are in the right or not, and frankly I’m not sure everyone can handle that kind of power. So let’s step it back a little and give you some set rules so all that power doesn’t go straight to your head. In the matter of sailboats versus motorized boats, the sailboat gets right of way. However, that is only if the sailboat is utilizing its sail, otherwise it is considered a motorized boat, even if the sail is up. So if a wind-less sailboat and a pontoon boat are racing it out, the right of way goes to the boat on the starboard side (the right for all you nautical novices). If the ships passing in the night happen to be sailboats on the same tack, the leeward boat has right of way. If they are on opposite tacks advantage goes to the vessel on the starboard tack.
So what happens if two power boats meet head to head? This is the home base of the nautical world. You see, in this scenario neither boat has the right of way. Sounds like madness — with little anarchy-powered tugs ruling the waters — doesn’t it? Luckily, a simple adjustment and a hydro-revolution can probably be avoided. If this happens, each boat should cut course to the starboard side allowing the boats to pass port-to-port.
After this entry-level course in waterway mechanics you should be able to hit the high seas without causing too much risk to yourself or others, but just to be on the safe side, read the full Rules of the Road at http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=navRulesContent.
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