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C-470 express lanes to open to motorists for free this weekend after 4 years of construction

The four-year revamp of C-470 between Wadsworth Boulevard and Interstate 25 is coming to an end, as highway officials get ready to open freshly built express lanes for testing starting Saturday.

Motorists will be able to use the new toll lanes for free until mid-August while the tolling technology is tested and primed for public use. The long-delayed $276 million C-470 Express Lanes project, which broke ground in 2016, added two toll lanes on the westbound side of C-470, from I-25 to Colorado Boulevard, while one toll lane continues in that direction from Colorado Boulevard to Wadsworth Boulevard.

The eastbound side of the project features a single toll lane through the heavily used 12.5-mile stretch. The westbound express lanes will open Saturday, with all express lanes expected to be open by Sunday.

There will still be two free, general-purpose lanes in each direction of the highway that motorists can use if they do not want to pay a toll, though highway officials say the express lane will typically offer a faster ride.

Tolls will range from $0.65 to $3.60 with an ExpressToll pass depending on the time of day. The express lanes will be free to motorcycles. There are no discounts for vehicles with multiple passengers.

Meanwhile, tolls on the I-25 North Express Lanes project, between 120th Avenue and E-470/Northwest Parkway, were activated for the first time Friday. Tolls will range from $1.05 to $2.25, depending on time of day, with an ExpressToll pass.

The lanes will be free for motorcycles and for vehicles with three or more people with a Switchable HOV Transponder pass. Vehicles with fewer than three people will be charged a toll when driving the express lanes.

The new express lanes connect to existing express lanes on I-25, from U.S. 36 to 120th Avenue, meaning motorists can now make a continuous trip in the toll lane from E-470/Northwest Parkway to downtown Denver. There is a separate toll for the existing express lanes south of 120th Avenue.

I-25 will retain free general-purpose lanes alongside the new toll lanes.

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