Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Laurie Winters

Toll roads proposed for Niwot neighborhoods


March 30, 2016

Ask anyone what one of their main frustrations are in life, and they’ll most likely list traffic and road conditions. As Denver, Boulder and surrounding neighborhoods continue to increase in population, traffic remains a constant problem.

Toll roads are becoming more common around the Denver metro area, as a toll road was recently implemented on US 36, and on I-25 from US 36 to downtown Denver (a total of seven miles).

Both of these toll roads require an Express Lane pass that will cut down costs for those using the toll lanes. For those without the pass and wanting to bypass traffic, they will be charged at a higher rate. Alexus Carr, senior planner for the toll projects, said residents of Boulder County can expect to see more toll roads coming to neighborhoods in the near future.

“Congestion is getting worse and worse throughout Boulder County,” Carr said. “To increase the size of roads and make repairs, we think introducing toll roads to neighborhoods is the best solution.”

Carr said they are looking at doing a pilot project in Niwot, and turning Niwot Road (from Hwy. 287 to Hwy. 119), 79th Street (from Niwot Rd. to Hwy. 52) and 83rd Street (from Niwot Rd. to Hwy. 119) into toll roads. She explained this project will help tell them how the impact will benefit the community long-term.

“We understand it’s going to take some getting used to,” Carr said of how she expects residents to react. “Ultimately we hope this will help us bring in more funds to eventually increase the number of lanes on these major neighborhood roads.”

People living in Niwot, or who drive through the small town regularly, can purchase an Express Lane pass that will reduce the toll fee.

As for why this pilot project is taking flight in Niwot, Carr said the small size of the town makes it easier to see what the impacts will be, and the affluent community is best able to afford it.

“Before we take this idea to the rest of Boulder County and Longmont, we thought it would be best to test it out in a smaller community,” Carr explained. “Though it’s never happened before, there’s a chance it might not go how we plan, so we wouldn’t want it to affect too many people. Niwot, with its high-end subdivisions, will be the perfect place for this pilot project.”

Carr expects the project to begin this summer, once all the spring snow melts.


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