More funds sought to patrol U.S. 36
Speeding motorists and lane dodgers are contributing to hazardous conditions in the managed lanes on U.S. 36 between Denver and Boulder, prompting the State Patrol to ask the legislature for more than $200,000 this coming year to beef up patrols along the heavily traveled corridor.
“It’s for additional troopers to target highrisk driver activities, like speeding, left-lane changes and aggressive driving,” State Patrol Maj. Steve Garcia said.
The State Patrol’s request amounts to $216,087 in cash funds and two fulltime positions to increase highway patrols along U.S. 36, which opened as a newly expanded road this year after several years of construction. The highway now has an additional lane — which is tolled at a variable rate according to traffic congestion — in each direction.
Buses and high-occupancy vehicles, which starting Jan. 1 will require at least three occupants rather than two, are able to use the additional lane for free. There are still two general-purpose lanes in each direction that are free for anyone to use.
Amy Ford, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation, said a fair number of vehicles move in and out of the managed lanes where they are not supposed to. There is no physical barrier between the toll lane and the general-purpose lanes on the highway.
“The enforcement side could stand to be beefed up,” she said.
Garcia said the State Patrol’s focus is on maintaining safety along U.S. 36 rather than ensuring that tolls are properly collected by the private consortium that partnered with CDOT to build and operate the highway.
“We’re not toll enforcers — we’re not revenue collectors,” he said. “What I’m focused on is unsafe behavior.”
The State Patrol requested and received a similar increase for patrolling along the E-470 highway corridor in fiscal year 2016-17.