CDOT is testing the use of shoulder lanes along I-70 to alleviate traffic during peak travel times

Buses may be able to use shoulder lane on I-70

CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. - CDOT has tested a pilot program, which allows buses to use the shoulder lane along the I-70 mountain corridor to reduce congestion.

Originally CDOT intended to test the buses for three weekends, today being the last day. However, CDOT spokesperson Crystal Morgan told 7NEWS they canceled Sunday's test due to low volumes of traffic.

An engineer with CDOT thought of the bus to shoulder program earlier this winter, after severe backups along I-70. Some drivers reported travel times as long as five hours.

"For the last two weekends, CDOT has been traveling along the eastbound corridor, taking two Greyhound buses, one traveling in the general purpose lanes and one traveling on the shoulder," Morgan said. "We did find buses did travel faster than the buses in the general purpose lanes."

Morgan was unsure of the exact difference in travel time. If CDOT implemented the program only certain buses would be allow to use the shoulder going eastbound from the Eisenhower Tunnel to Idaho Springs. The bus will only be allowed to use the shoulder when general traffic speeds are below 35 miles per hour.  The bus will only be allowed to go 15 miles per hour faster than traffic in other lanes. If there is a break-down, the bus driver would be required to move to the general purpose lane.

7NEWS asked Morgan if this was a safe solution.

"This would not be something that would be implemented during adverse weather," Morgan said. "If this is something we move forward with, this would be something that would be utilized when the weather is nice but we are still having a lot of traffic coming down the mountain."

Morgan said CDOT is still reviewing the information collected from the test and will decide whether to move forward soon.

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