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Old 01-20-2008, 11:38 AM
 
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Default safest route from Zanesville OH to Harrisonburg VA in winter

I am going to be driving from Zanesville OH to Harrisonburg VA in a couple of weeks. Mapquest tells me to drive 77S to 50E to 79S to 33E into Harrisonburg. I have never taken this route (have never driven much in West Virginia at all). Any thoughts on this route? Would I be better off just taking 79S to Morgantown, then 68E to Hagerstown MD and then 81S into Virginia? I would greatly appreciate any advice from drivers more experienced with this part of the country. Thank you!! --Rose
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Old 01-20-2008, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
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This one is complex...I live in the DC area so I use I-68 quite frequently heading back to WV to visit my family and I can say that during the winter if one can avoid western Maryland (the main part of I-68) then do it, unfortunately that isn't really an option for me so I've had to bear it. I've left DC before with beautiful blue skies only to get up there and be in a snow storm, it can be quite rough occasionally. That being said in your case I don't think mapquests route offers anything better, if my memory serves me right most of Rt. 33 is a very mountainous windy 2 lane road. This is what I do, before I leave I go to weather.com and check McHenry MD or Frostburg MD (near the worst parts of I-68) and look to see if there are any weather advisories, if there are I try and find a different route or leave later. Most of the time this won't be a problem, however you just never know so its better to check and make sure before you depart. I will say this, despite the fact that it snows ALL THE TIME up there they are pretty good about keeping the roads clear, one probably can't say the same for a 2 lane road like Rt.33.

The mapquest route also takes you on Rt. 50 which also isn't entirely up to highway standards either, 79S to Morgantown and 68E to Hagerstown then to I-81 offers you interstate the entire way, I just feel safer on interstates. BE VERY CAREFUL about speeding in Maryland on 68, they will get you everytime, been there, done that, its not fun! If you have any other questions just ask.
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Old 01-21-2008, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
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This time of year, I would avoid Rt. 33. It is a very mountainous and curvy road. My parents have a cabin in that area and I would not want to travel through there in the winter. I would stay on major highways instead of Rt. 33. Best wishes for safe travels.
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:37 AM
 
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Both are longhauls. The route over 33 is a two lane and curvy mountain road. It is a great summer route for senic beauty with lookouts along the way.
I would say that both would take a 5 hr driving time...Rt 33 being even longer...

less stress on the Interstate and better help from police if a breakdown happens.
Maryland takes good care of the mountains from Bruceton to Hancock...WV takes poor care of its roads period...You will see the severe distinction at the Maryland state line...It may be the fact that Maryland hires sub-contractors to do their mowing and road work instead of doing it themselves.
Good luck on your trip...take some emergency items along just in case...water and blankets for sure...
77E to 79S to 68E to 81S is the best route this time of year.
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Old 01-21-2008, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
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I was just looking at a map and noticed Zanesville is on I-70 what is wrong with taking I-70E directly to Hagerstown MD where you will then get on I-81S. I know part of the way you will be on the PA Turnpike but there are very few tolls on that part of the road. If you go the way you mentioned to Morgantown and then over to 68 you will end up getting on I-70 anyway for like 20 miles until you get to Hagerstown. That seems the best way to me, you avoid I-68 through Western Maryland and don't have to drive on rural two lane rt.33. To me that seems like the most sensible route, mapquest usually won't recommend ways that involve toll roads so thats probably why it wasn't mentioned.
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Old 01-21-2008, 12:07 PM
 
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Default thank you!

Thanks so much to everyone for these replies! They are extremely helpful. I will avoid rt. 33 -- v. much appreciate the suggestion there. And I had never thought of taking 70 directly to Hagerstown. You are right: I always forget that mapquest avoids toll roads (I had even mapquested Zanesville to Hagerstown, and it sent me 79S to 68E). 70E makes more sense and avoids that mountainous part of western Maryland.

I will save rt. 33 for a leisurely summer vacation!

Thanks again,
Rose
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Old 01-22-2008, 03:59 AM
 
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Route 70 through Pa is an old curvy turnpike...If you take that route, you will only do it one time.
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Old 01-22-2008, 07:24 AM
 
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So then is all of 70E through PA to be avoided?
Or are you saying 68E is a better road from 79 on?
Thanks again,
Rose
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Old 01-22-2008, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Western Pennsylvania
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70E from New Stanton, PA to Breezewood is on the PA Turnpike. It is a bit curvy, but probably more snowplows/salt than I-68.

If a winter storm is in northern WV, but has missed (or already passed thru) southern WV (check weather.com or accuweather.com), you might consider this "Gobbler's Knob" alternative from Zanesville:

I-77 South to Parkersburg, Charleston, Beckley.

Just south of Beckley, take I-64 East to Wytheville, VA.

Then I-81 North. Unless it's a monster storm (12+"), the interstates should be pretty much clear within 24 hours of a storm passing.

No matter how you go, you're going to be crossing the spine of the Appalachians. The Interstates are likely to be cleared before US Routes like US-33. Pick the route that's had the longest time to be cleared, and allow plenty of time to get to your destination.
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Old 01-23-2008, 05:47 AM
 
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Zanesville to Little Washington on I-77
I-79 south to Morgantown
I-68 east to I-81 south.

...the weather will be the factor. I will only use the Pa trunpike in an emergency...bottle necked...curvy...the concrete barriers are claustrophobic...never again.
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