The Pros and Cons of Zipper Lanes

August 27 2010, 10:33 AM

Some good news if you're a proponent of so-called "zipper lanes" along I-70, which are being touted as a solution to speeding up Denver-bound traffic during ski season: The initial results of a state study conclude that temporarily dedicating a westbound lane of the highway to eastbound traffic during peak hours would cut travel time from mountain ski resorts by about half, according to The Associated Press. The study finds that using a zipper lane would only be feasible on Sundays during the winter and could cut the drive time from Silver Plume to El Rancho, for example, from 91 minutes to 46 minutes. The study does not find a significant benefit to creating an additional westbound lane on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings in the winter, when traffic is headed to the resorts. The downsides: Creating the temporary eastbound lane from Empire Junction to Floyd Hill could cost as much as $35 million. And traffic moving westbound would see the time of travel over that same distance more than double--from 35 minutes to 79 minutes, notes The Denver Post. As far as adding zipper lanes in the summertime, when traffic can also clog: State officials have ruled out the possibility, an idea they appeared set against earlier this month, reports CBS4.