Do new HOV lanes have you confused? Well, CDOT can help | AspenTimes.com

Do new HOV lanes have you confused? Well, CDOT can help

Tanner Jones

Drivers who get busted driving solo in the new HOV lanes on Highway 82 will get more than just a ticket – they’ll get brochures explaining why they were pulled over.

A resident who avoids the roadside consultation will also receive the brochure – in the mail – as part of an effort by the Colorado Department of Transportation to educate drivers about the rules regarding High Occupancy Vehicle lanes.

CDOT officials say they want to clear up any confusion regarding the new HOV lanes. The lanes are being built as part of the “four-laning” of the highway. One lane in each direction is set aside for all vehicles, and one lane can be used during rush-hour times only by vehicles with two or more occupants. Motorcycles and vehicles that use alternative fuels are also allowed in HOV lanes.

HOV lanes have been open on Highway 82 between Aspen Village and Brush Creek Road since last summer. The Holland Hills section of the highway from Basalt to the Wingo Bridge recently opened with HOV lanes.

“Safety was one of our greatest concerns,” said Joe Elsen, an engineer with CDOT. “The new sections of four-lane Highway 82 are much safer and move traffic much more efficiently, but motorists are still confused about how HOV lanes work. Our education campaign will clear things up for those people who have not used HOV lanes regularly.”

CDOT is using the slogan “One is the Loneliest Number” as part of its campaign. CDOT has also purchased the rights to use Three Dog Night’s song “One” in public service announcements, which are being distributed to local radio stations. Advertisements will also appear in local newspapers through September.

The right lanes of the highway are designated HOV lanes, which is the opposite of most other highways. Elsen said the placement of the lanes is designed to accommodate buses so they can safely make drop-offs and pick-ups throughout the valley.

HOV lane restrictions will be strictly enforced Monday through Friday from 6 to 9 a.m. in the upvalley lanes, and from 3 to 6 p.m. downvalley.

Ignoring HOV lane laws on Highway 82 will result in a fine of $65 for the first or second offense. Third and subsequent offenses will result in a $125 fine, and all fines will come with pamphlets explaining the HOV laws.

Since last summer, the Colorado State Patrol has issued 104 tickets for HOV lane violations in the Roaring Fork Valley. Numerous complaints from motorists about HOV-lane violators have led the CSP to commit to enforcing the rules.

For more information, call 928-06682 or visit the CDOT Web site at http://www.dot.state.co.us.


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