The Colorado Dept. of Transportation has won two awards in a recent national competition showcasing excellence in projects that improve travel safety, reduce congestion and provide more mobility options.

CDOT was honored for the U.S. 6 Bridges Design-Build project in Denver and the I-70 Mountain Express Lane project between Empire and Idaho Springs.

The Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, or WASHTO, presented the awards at its annual conference in Laramie, Wyo. WASHTO is the second of four regional groups to name recipients of this year’s America’s Transportation Awards. WASHTO membership includes 18 western states.

CDOT’s $98-million project along U.S. 6 replaced six obsolete bridges between Knox Court and I-25 and eliminated weaving movements between Federal Boulevard and I-25 to improve travel times and safety.

Crews increased mobility and access to neighborhoods by adding a dedicated bike lane on the new Knox Court Bridge and by improving connections between trails and the new pedestrian bridge over 6th Avenue.

The project and its comprehensive community outreach initiatives allowed officials to deliver 10 years’ worth of improvements in just 21 months, saving taxpayers time and money in user, construction and maintenance costs, CDOT says.

CDOT’s $72-million I-70 Mountain Express Lane project reduced congestion and travel along I-70 between Empire and Idaho Springs by converting the eastbound shoulder into an Express Lane during peak periods only. Through this strategy, an extra travel lane can be added during peak periods such as weekends and holidays to guarantee more reliable travel speeds.

The shoulder express lane can divert up to 900 vehicles to reduce congestion along the 13-mile corridor and adjacent frontage roads. The project facilitates commerce, enhances movement of freight and improves access to recreational activities while helping mountain communities and saving travelers time.

“We are thrilled to receive national recognition for these two innovative projects that are already improving the daily lives of commuters in the metro area and for mountain corridor travelers,” said Shailen Bhatt, CDOT Executive Director. “CDOT thanks all the communities and partners involved in delivering these projects that help to improve the efficiency and safety of our transportation system.”