DENVER -- How many of you shell out the extra cash in the express toll lanes in an attempt to save time on Highway 36 and I-70 to the mountains?
"For the $4 or $5 or however much it is a month or whatever, it just doesn't seem worth it to save...two or three minutes,” said Brandon Pelly, who drives Highway 36 regularly.
Now, a year after completion, CDOT said revenue from the project is meeting expectations and they’re able to meet their financial obligations.
CDOT reports that 12.9 million customers used the express lanes in 2015, based on normalized stats from the July opening through December. Nearly 24 million customers used the express lanes in 2016, which is almost double the amount from 2015.
"We know that people who are just using the free, general-purpose lanes are also benefiting from increased speeds [and] reduced travel times. So if you have an express lane in your corridor, we're seeing that everybody's benefiting,” said Megan Castle, a spokesperson for CDOT.
CDOT said traffic congestion is better, and while some don't spend the extra money, others see the value of saving time.
“[Highway] 36 has been pretty rough for many years, so I do think that it is a good alternative. Like I said, I don't use it often, but it's sort of nice to know it's there,” said Nick Filler, who occasionally uses the toll lanes.
Others who didn’t want to be identified say nothing has changed and that the lanes were just a waste of money.
With these lanes serving as the future for highway construction and congestion problems, much like the new lanes going in on C-470 in Douglas and Jefferson counties, as well as I-25 north of Denver, you’ll likely continue to see more of them being built in the future.