Colorado lawmakers back ‘zipper’ lane for I-70
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
DENVER – With money tight, state lawmakers and transportation officials are looking at temporary solutions to ease traffic on Interstate 70, including a proposal to add a “zipper” lane on weekends.
The state transportation department is studying whether it’s feasible to put out moveable concrete barriers to temporarily add an extra eastbound lane, called a “zipper” lane, on Sunday evenings when Front Range residents head home from weekend trips to the mountains. The extra lane would extend for about 15 miles, leaving one westbound lane.
Department lobbyist Herman Stockinger told lawmakers Thursday that the study should be completed within 10 days but added that the department wants to make sure communities along I-70 support the idea.
The Senate Transportation Committee backed a proposal (Senate Bill 184) endorsing the idea, sending it on the full Senate for a vote.
The committee also voted to support barring slow moving vehicles from the left lane of I-70 on steep uphill stretches (Senate Bill 196). Vehicles that can’t travel at least 10 mph below the posted speed limit on 6 percent grades would have to move over or risk a $19 ticket.
CDOT says it doesn’t need a bill to install a zipper lane, but Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, who is sponsoring the bill with Sen. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne, said it could help the state win federal permission. Romer said he’d like to see it in place by next ski season; CDOT doesn’t have a timeline yet.
Tom Seagle of Denver told lawmakers he’s making shorter and less frequent trips to fish, ski and hike in the mountains because of the traffic, sometimes taking a few less ski runs or not staying in the mountains for something to eat. He couldn’t think of much positive to say about the drive.
“It’s scenic, but not when you’re going two miles an hour,” he said.
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