Communities Celebrate Completion of New I-25 North Express Lanes Berthoud to Fort Collins Project

Ribbon Cutting for I-25 Express Lanes Project Completion (Photo by CDOT)

New Express Lanes To Open to the public on December 15

On Thursday, Dec. 7, the Colorado Department of Transportation celebrated the substantial completion of the I-25 North Express Lanes Project from Berthoud to Fort Collins.

During an event celebrating the milestone on Thursday, Gov. Jared Polis, representatives from CDOT, the Federal Highway Administration and local government officials addressed the project’s significance for the future of Colorado, what to expect from the project’s forthcoming mobility hub, and how the project is connecting northern Coloradans with the rest of the state.

“This is a milestone for Colorado and every person who travels on I-25. This project will save people time and improve safety while connecting Coloradans with northern Colorado,” said Governor Polis.

“It’s a big deal to get a project of this size done,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “It takes a long time, a lot of outreach, and a phenomenal team effort — and we are here today to celebrate those things coming together.”

Remarks were followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony and an opportunity for guests to enjoy the new space, including the future mobility hub and Bustang platform in the middle of I-25.

“This whole project has been about doing things in new and original ways,” said Larimer County Commissioner Kristin Stephens. “From funding and alternative delivery contracts to compressing the design and construction schedule, multiple mobility options, growth, adaptability, and technology … it all took innovation that is the heart of the spirit of Northern Colorado.”

Heather Paddock, CDOT regional transportation director for Northeast Colorado, agrees. “I have said numerous times I-25 is the backbone and spine of Northern Colorado. It is the lifeline that connects us all. When the blood isn’t pumping, things stop working. When I-25 doesn’t move and/or creates a barrier to get across, the communities can not healthily grow, be sustainable, economically thrive or be provided options for modality.”

The importance of I-25 was underscored by others, also. “I-25 is the lifeblood of Northern Colorado,” said Weld County Commissioner Scott James. “I am pleased to see our hard work and advocacy come to fruition, resulting in a safer and more efficient roadway for Northern Colorado motorists.”

The I-25 North Express Lanes between Colorado State Highway 56 and Prospect Road will open for testing at 5 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 15. Tolls will be waived during the testing period, and drivers are encouraged to try the Express Lanes by entering through the dashed white lines. When using the lanes, drivers are reminded to follow these rules to ensure the safety of everyone on the road:

  1. Do not cross the solid white lines (tickets for violations start at $75 each).

  2. Enter and exit at the designated areas only, which are marked with a white dotted line.

  3. Obey posted speed limits. The Express Lanes cannot be used to pass slower-moving vehicles.

Motorists should expect various overnight and lane closures, including in the Express Lanes, while the last of the construction wraps up and tolling equipment is installed. The Express Lanes are anticipated to begin tolling in 2024.

Once tolling begins in 2024, motorists are encouraged to sign up for an ExpressToll account to save an average of 40% on tolls. Those without an ExpressToll account will be charged through a License Plate Toll and will receive an additional surcharge. Drivers with three or more passengers will be able to use the I-25 North Express Lanes for free with a Switchable HOV Transponder. Motorcycles will be able to travel in the lanes for free and will not need an ExpressToll pass or account.

“I-25 is a vital route supporting the regional economy – not only for travel between Denver and the North Front Range but for much of the Western US,” said John Cater, division administrator for the Federal Highway Administration. “This project will expedite travel along the corridor and improve reliability for trucking and freight throughout the area.”

Getting the funding for all of this work has taken a long time, but is worth it. “It has been an honor to work alongside our elected leaders. This is a remarkable model of partnership and collaboration focused on achieving an important mutual goal. Thank you to our partners! Lastly, while we celebrate this tremendous and hard-fought milestone today, we aren’t quite done,” said Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance’s Sandra Hagen Solin, noting the need for the Express Lane to continue from Mead to south of Colorado Highway 7. “We continue our work, but today we celebrate.”

Rep. Joe Neguse was unable to attend but said, “I was proud to partner with local and state leaders to secure critical federal funding for the expansion of North I-25 and am excited to see the much-needed improvements to the travel corridor between Loveland and Fort Collins become a reality, which will support countless individuals across Larimer County.”

Improvements on I-25 between Berthoud and Fort Collins have been underway since 2019. The project involves adding two general-purpose lanes and one tolled Express Lane in each direction from CO 56 to CO 14. Additionally, the initiative includes the reconstruction of interchanges and bridges, the introduction of Express Bus service, the integration of intelligent transportation systems on I-25, and the development of new carpool and transit facilities.

The I-25 North Express Lanes Project’s final grand opening, including the mobility hubs, is scheduled for spring 2024. Also, in the spring, the next phase of work from Berthoud to Mead will begin.

I-25 North Express Lanes Project Contact Information

Know Before You Go

Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts and anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:

Remember: Slow For The Cone Zone

The following tips are to help you stay safe while traveling through maintenance and construction work zones.

  • Do not speed in work zones. Obey the posted speed limits.
  • Stay Alert! Expect the unexpected.
  • Watch for workers. Drive with caution.
  • Don’t change lanes unnecessarily.
  • Avoid using mobile devices such as phones while driving in work zones.
  • Turn on headlights so that workers and other drivers can see you.
  • Be especially alert at night while driving in work zones.
  • Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
  • Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you.
  • Anticipate lane shifts and merge when directed to do so.
  • Be patient!

Download the COtrip App!

The new FREE COtrip Planner mobile app was designed to meet the growing trend of information on mobile and tablet devices for the traveling public. The COtrip Planner app provides statewide, real-time traffic information, and works on mobile devices that operate on the iOS and Android platforms. Visit the Google Play Store (Android devices) or the Apple Store (iOS devices) to download!

About CDOT

The Colorado Department of Transportation’s mission is to provide the best multi-modal transportation system that most effectively and safely moves people, goods and information. CDOT maintains more than 23,000 lane miles of highway, more than 3,400 bridges and 35 mountain passes. Our team of employees works tirelessly to reduce the rate and severity of crashes and improve the safety of all modes of transportation. CDOT leverages partnerships with a range of private and public organizations and operates Bustang, an interregional express bus service. Find more details at codot.gov.

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