No pain, no gain.

Business owners and commuters should prepare for a major transportation project that will affect their operations and travel times for the next 2½ years. As reporter Michael Davidson notes in this edition, the Colorado Department of Transportation has begun preliminary work on the U.S. 36 Express Lane Project.

The $312 million project will include construction of a dedicated lane for high-occupancy vehicles, buses and toll payers from Federal Boulevard to 88th Street, both eastbound and westbound.

CDOT officials believe they can keep two lanes open in both directions during construction. Nonetheless, commuters and businesses need to be informed because delays are inevitable. U.S. Highway 36 suffers from bumper-to-bumper traffic at rush hours, and any construction activity is likely to exacerbate commuters’ woes.

As a Broomfield city official noted in Davidson’s article, impact is inevitable because there really is no good way to avoid the construction.

Still, information is power, and we are pleased at the outreach being made by CDOT and 36 Commuting Solutions, a nonprofit agency dedicated to improving the flow of people along the corridor.

36 Commuting Solutions has initiated a public-relations campaign, including reaching out to local businesses to encourage vanpooling, telecommuting and flexible work schedules.

Additionally, CDOT has launched, offering updates on construction. Commuters also can subscribe to text alerts.

As the project unfolds, businesses and commuters need to keep their eyes on the prize: express lanes that will bring vast improvement to a long stretch of one of the state’s most-congested corridors.

It’s good to know that, in the meantime, state and nonprofit agencies will keep us all informed.