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The impossible dream: Bypassing I-95 between DC and Richmond

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A few months ago, I made the drive south from Philadelphia to Florida. I hit the DC-Richmond corridor on a Sat. am, and it was a painful stretch of driving.

Any ideas or tips on avoiding it, or the best strategies as far as time, HOV lanes, etc., if it can't be avoided?

Route 301 looks like a possibility, but from experience I know that's not a lot of fun, either. And there's I-81, but I'd have to go way west to pick it up.

Ann ideas?

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