Originally Posted by skier31
I normally do not drive when the toll lanes are open. However, one day I did and there were two accidents in the toll lane. Clear, sunny and dry. Seems like some people weave in and out. It does seem to distribute traffic which is fine with me.
I drive I-70 to ski about every other day, mostly weekdays. I usually go up early and return fairly early (probably by three pm on average). From my observations, the major time saver this season has been much less construction work, and as a result fewer stoppages, lane closures and slow downs. Less CDOT-created confusion and delay. Not the new toll lane.
When they have narrowed lanes down to one for what construction there still is, they sometimes have been using the toll lane for this (for much shorter distances due to less construction), mostly at the bridge construction site in Idaho Springs and after the Empire merger. But they would have had to maintain at least one lane open anyway. The extra convenience for CDOT may have saved time for CDOT by shortening the construction schedule, but not really on the highway for us, unless the projects are finished more quickly, and we see benefits from this in the future. So again, little or no benefit from toll lane, so far - but big benefit from less construction.
At the hours I drive, I almost never see anyone in the toll lanes, open or not.
Lastly, there has been a drastic reduction in highway patrol presence corresponding to the end of construction on the new part time lane, and to the self-serving "study" CDOT has done to pat themselves on the back. Idaho Springs and the construction zone in general have been a speed trap the last few years, but not so much once the toll lane has opened. As a result, fewer police pullovers and distractions have resulted in a smoother, and probably faster, traffic flow.
However, in the last two weeks this police presence seems to have picked up again, especially westbound on the hill descent into the canyon in the mornings. Maybe the "study" is over.
I really question whether CDOT's own evaluations or "studies" of the benefits of their own new toll lane(s) are anything more than self-serving propaganda. They just want to keep the money flowing into their many more plans to add toll lanes at huge expense and disruption in the metro area and beyond (Boulder toll road, !-25, pending !-70 expansion, and so on).
Does anyone see these as long term solutions, or even effective "band aids?"