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Old 05-27-2011, 08:15 PM
 
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Am traveling from an hour south of Minneapolis to PA starting out early Memorial Day Monday. Normally we'd 'grin and bear it' via Chicago but we have a bike rack on back this time (new to us) and I hear there is a Cubs game on Monday afternoon. What is the best alternative to get around the city knowing that I'm a little 'traffic shy' with the bike rack but want to be efficient with the time?

My thoughts are to take 90 to 290 to 294 to 80 OR take 35 S in MN through Cedar Rapids and Davenport to 80. Definitely willing to hear other suggestions.
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Old 05-27-2011, 10:56 PM
 
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The 90 to 290 to 294 could work. It will advoid all the city traffic.
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Old 05-28-2011, 03:37 AM
 
Location: Chicago
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I guess it depends on which part of PA you're going to. If you're heading to northern PA such as Erie or the Poconos and you need to stay along I-80, chirack's suggestion is your best option.

If you're heading SW, central, or SE PA (Pittsburgh/Harrisburg/Philly), you can steer well clear of Chicago by catching I-39 in Madison WI and taking it south through WI/IL until you hit I-74 in Bloomington IL, then catch I-70 in Indianapolis, and then catch 76 just south of Pittsburgh which will take you to Harrisburg and eventually Philly. A bonus for this route is that you avoid most tolls -- I think you pay one 80-cent toll near the WI/IL border and then that's it for tolls until you hit 76 in PA. If you have to take the northern route, you're paying a bunch of IL tolls, then IN tolls, then OH tolls that altogether add up to something like 40 bucks.

ETA: Or, if you're going down toward Cedar Rapids, you can take I-80 from there and catch I-74 near the Quad Cities, then follow the rest of the directions above. If you take that route, you won't even have to pay the one 80-cent toll, much less $40 worth.

Last edited by Drover; 05-28-2011 at 03:47 AM..
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Old 05-28-2011, 07:48 AM
 
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Thanks for your help. I am heading to Philly. We have always gone thru Chicago and except for Chicago, never had any traffic. If I take the more southern route, aren't I likely to incur traffic in Indianapolis, Columbus and some other cities? It looks like 70 goes right through them.
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Old 05-28-2011, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Chicago
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Taking the I-465 loop south around Indy proper is actually shorter, or at least no further, than taking I-74 directly to I-70through the city. I have been on the 465 loop at all times of day, including rush hour, and "traffic" as we know it in Chicago is simply nonexistent there. It can get thick, but traffic is always moving near or above posted speeds. Plus the speed limit is higher on the 465 loop -- IIRC, I-70 drops as low as 45mph through the city. And when the speed limit is 45, Indy's law-abiding folks actually drive something close to 45, unlike Chicago drivers who don't realize the speed limit on the Kennedy is 45mph through downtown because light doesn't travel fast enough to catch your average Chicago driver when he isn't hindered by backups.

There isn't enough traffic in Columbus to slow you down. If in doubt, take the I-270 loop south of the city. My main caution about driving through Ohio -- and this is true no matter which route you take -- is that their state troopers are merciless. I wouldn't do any more than 3 or 4 over through Ohio, which is frustrating as hell since it's a long, boring, pointlessly low-speed-limit drive (65mph speed limit). Pittsburgh's traffic only sucks near downtown. I-70 is far enough away from the city that it's exubrban/borderline rural out there. Harrisburg is the same as Columbus -- not enough traffic to slow anyone down.

Last edited by Drover; 05-28-2011 at 12:19 PM..
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Old 05-28-2011, 12:57 PM
 
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How much longer in distance is the southern versus northern route ?? Not sure if the toll savings would be eaten up by extra fuel expense ... The Northern route is closer to a hypotenuse ; the southern route looks like the 'legs' of a triangle ..
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Old 05-28-2011, 01:24 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snoylekim View Post
How much longer in distance is the southern versus northern route ?? Not sure if the toll savings would be eaten up by extra fuel expense ... The Northern route is closer to a hypotenuse ; the southern route looks like the 'legs' of a triangle ..
According to Mapquest, the northern route from Cedar Rapids to Philly is 995 miles taking 16 hours and 15 minutes. My suggested route is 40 miles longer and 45 minutes longer -- which could very well be made up by avoiding Chicago traffic and construction on the Borman Expressway. That combined with less aggravation on account of lower traffic volume (the 80/94/etc. route is one of the busiest interstate corridors in the country) is worth 40 bucks in my book.
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Old 05-28-2011, 03:48 PM
 
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Appreciate your input. Am a bit hesitant about going around Indy as was there only one time going from airport to Bloomington, IN and we just sat in traffic. It was a VERY long drive.

Back to thinking of going 'near but not through' Chicago. Looking at Google Maps, what about 90 to 39 to 80? Does that miss enough of the Chicago traffic and merges and yet still get me to Philly in decent time? Is that a good route?

And thanks for the heads up on driving through Ohio. My wallet thanks you too! Don't make this drive often enough to know the places to really watch out for.
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Old 05-28-2011, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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If you sat in traffic on your way to Bloomington, that's got little to do with the 465 loop. From the aiport to the exit to Bloomington is only a mile. I'm looking at a traffic map of Indy right now and the only place there's any backups is the interchange right by IMS for obvious reasons.

If you shot down I-80 through IL, you'd still have to contend with 80/94 through the IN/IL border area which is a major choke point -- especially on travel holidays and exacerbated by the fact that it's under construction. The good news is that the purpose of that ocnstruction is to widen the corridor so it will become less of a choke point in the future, and it should be done in a few months. The bad news is, it's not done yet.
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Old 05-28-2011, 04:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drover View Post
If you sat in traffic on your way to Bloomington, that's got little to do with the 465 loop. From the aiport to the exit to Bloomington is only a mile. I'm looking at a traffic map of Indy right now and the only place there's any backups is the interchange right by IMS for obvious reasons.

If you shot down I-80 through IL, you'd still have to contend with 80/94 through the IN/IL border area which is a major choke point -- especially on travel holidays and exacerbated by the fact that it's under construction. The good news is that the purpose of that ocnstruction is to widen the corridor so it will become less of a choke point in the future, and it should be done in a few months. The bad news is, it's not done yet.
Yes , and the OP should check out the DOT websites for Indiana, Ohio, and especially Pennsylvania for other construction updates .. they're always doing something on the Pennsylvania Turnpike .. and their website is very informative w/ respect to lane closures, impact ( and even cameras ) ..
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