You can drive the U.S. 36 Express Lanes for free from now until July. Construction is wrapping up, and the Colorado Department of Transportation is testing the Express Lanes from Pecos to Table Mesa Drive/Foothills Parkway. And now you can, too.

There is one new Express Lane in each direction that will charge a variable toll based on traffic volume. The more cars using them means a higher rate. You can also ride them for free if you have two or more people in your vehicle. You’ll still be able to use the two general purpose lanes in each direction for free.

CDOT wants you to get used to driving the lanes, and to start thinking about how you’ll use the 18 miles of refurbished road, new toll lanes and a new bikeway. The project is intended to relieve congestion into Boulder in the morning and out of the city in the evening. It’s a huge plus for those of you who live in outlying areas that work in Boulder.

Here are more improvements that come with the new lanes:

  1. A new, 11-mile bikeway with grade-separated crossings from Interlocken to Westminster
  2. A new diverging diamond interchange at McCaslin to be completed in January
  3. The second phase will add seven more miles to the bikeway, which will connect Denver and Boulder in January
  4. Bus station improvements along U.S. 36

This years-long project is nearing completion. When phase one is done this summer, you’ll want to get a new, switchable transponder. That way you’ll either be able to pay to ride on the Express Lanes and pay the variable toll – or if you have more than one person in your vehicle, just switch the transponder to “HOV” and ride the Express Lanes for free.

The least favorable option is when you ride in the Express Lanes without a transponder – you’ll have to pay a higher toll when CDOT bills you to the address your car is registered. There are no toll booths.

For more information, visit expresstoll.com or call 303-537-3470.

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home along U.S. 36 or in Boulder, contact an 8030 Realtor to find out how to take advantage of these new transportation improvements!