Are Zipper Lanes the Solution for I-70 Congestion?

March 2010
In a letter to the Vail Daily, Mary J. Linke puts forth one of the most articulate calls for leaders to intervene and do something about the insane five-hour return drives along I-70 into Denver, which stem from the metered, or controlled, traffic at the Eisenhower/Johnson tunnel. Now, she and hundreds of thousands of skiers and snowboarders victimized by the congestion might get their wish. By next winter, traffic could ease up if the state Legislature figures out a way to allow "zipper lanes," reports The Denver Post. The idea is to use movable concrete barriers to divide a portion of westbound traffic to let more traffic flow east during weekend afternoon rushes back toward the Denver area. The lawmakers pushing the plan estimate the additional eastbound lane would cut drive times over the worst areas by half. But there are safety concerns to overcome. "This is not a permanent, long-term solution, but this is a huge down payment to help average citizens get back and forth from the mountains we love," says state Senator Chris Romer (pictured), one of the sponsors of the barrier bill, which was introduced this week. The debate couldn't come too soon. Transportation officials were metering again Sunday, Westword points out, and I-70 "predictably turned into a parking lot at the tunnel, ending many a getaway with an interminably slow slog back to Denver."