Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT)

Colorado Department of Transportation

A third lane traveling in both directions on I-25 in Northern Colorado could break ground as soon as 2017 -- if another $25 million can be added to the pot.

The North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization, a group of local representatives from Front Range cities and counties, have contributed a total of $25 million already. Having lost out recently on $137.6 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the group hopes to fill the gap by going after other grants.

“We wish we had gotten that [DOT] grant, but it’s not going to stop us,” said Fort Collins mayor pro tem Gerry Horack.

Colorado Department of Transportation / Flickr - Used With Permission

Nearly everyone agrees I-70 winter ski traffic is terrible. But can data help the savvy traveler avoid the worst days?

We collected five years of winter weekend travel times from the Colorado Department of Transportation. By analyzing data that is not readily available to the public, we were able to identify some trends. Will the findings shave minutes off your ski commute? Maybe. But we're not making any promises.

Colorado Department of Transportation / used with permission

Hordes of skiers headed into Colorado's mountains over President's Day weekend. For most of them, it's a pretty good bet they experienced traffic congestion on I-70.

As Colorado's population grows, are these delays getting worse? It's a question worth asking. To learn the answer, KUNC analyzed five years of winter weekend travel time data from the Colorado Department of Transportation. The findings may surprise you.

Colorado Deptartment of Transportation

Drivers may soon see less traffic congestion along eastbound I-70 starting in December 2015 – if they are willing to pay. That’s when a 13 mile stretch of toll lane will periodically open between Empire and Idaho Springs. The part time toll lane will only be open when the Colorado Department of Transportation sees that traffic is getting backed up.

Here’s what you need to know about the new eastbound I-70 Mountain Express Lane.

Colorado Department of Transportation

The main thoroughfare of Fort Collins  - College Avenue, or U.S. Highway 287 if you’re feeling official - will be closed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24 for asphalt repaving. The closed stretch will extend between Mulberry and Laurel, and will include the west leg of both Myrtle and Laurel at College Avenue.

Fort Collins hasn’t been a stranger to road work and diversions lately, but once the work is done, College Ave. will be “a very nice stretch of road” said Colorado Department of Transportation spokesman Jared Fiel.

Town of Estes Park

If you visit Estes Park, you’re part of the problem.

The town is grappling with increasing tourist traffic and parking problems, which have only gotten worse as Estes Park’s popularity has grown. Throw in 3 million annual visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park and a roadway that wasn’t designed to handle the congestion and you’ve got a big headache.

But how to fix it?

The Colorado Department of Transportation Commission voted unanimously to approve $1 million to help preserve the Southwest Chief rail line in southern Colorado. It's part of a route that stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles.

The aging track needs major upgrades or Amtrak will have to reroute the line out of Colorado and parts of New Mexico and Kansas. The train stops in Lamar, La Junta and Trinidad, in southeastern Colorado.

KUNC File Photo

As the state Legislature enters the home stretch, lawmakers recently debated a measure to study whether to transfer federal lands to the state. Another bill aimed at relieving congestion on Interstate 70 heading through the mountains also became contentious. There's not much time left for these debates, the annual session ends May 6.

Jim Hill / KUNC

It's no secret that America's roads are in trouble. With gasoline prices so low, many lawmakers are saying this is the best time to raise state and federal gas taxes. Those taxes have been the main funding source for road infrastructure for decades.

Raising taxes is never a politically popular move, but Wyoming and Iowa have raised their gas tax in recent years. Other states are seriously considering it. But, it may not be the right solution.

"As a form of revenue that goes long term into the future, the gas tax is a dying tax," said Amy Ford, Communications Director for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Flicker-CDOT / used with permission

Are we driving less? When it comes to the Federal Highway Administration's forecasts, the government seems to think so. After years of predicting that driving would only be increasing, the latest forecast of vehicle miles traveled is projecting that total miles driven by the average American will remain essentially flat for the foreseeable future.

With that estimation, CoPIRG, a consumer advocacy group, said the agency is quietly acknowledging that the driving boom is now over.

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