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Boston to Trenton - July 3

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Jun 5th, 2013, 09:30 PM
  #1
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Boston to Trenton - July 3

I need to drive from the North Shore (northeast of Boston) to Trenton, NJ, on July 3, arriving no later than 2:00 PM. Even though I live up here, I have no idea what to expect in the way of holiday traffic, as I don't usually make a road trip around Independence Day.

Any suggestions on what time will be best to depart? I'm not sure what to factor in for the combined effects of rush hours and holiday traffic on Boston, Hartford, and NYC area traffic that day. From what I understand, the trip normally takes 5–6 hours outside rush hours.

Also, is the Tappan Zee the best way to go? I'm guessing it will be better than the NYC bridges but am not sure.

Thanks!
Cranachin is offline  
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Jun 5th, 2013, 11:44 PM
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Tappan Zee Bridge - no question. I live north of Boston as well and make trip in that direction several times/year. (Rte 128 to Rte 93 to Rte 495 to MassPike to Rte 84 - most GPS will not send you that way but they are wrong. After you hit MassPike/495 if it is still sending you over GW Bridge, set it towards Danbury, CT and you will be fine. Mine does not allow me to select Tappan Zee Bridge as a destination, so Danbury works)

My guess is that AM rush hour on that day will be lighter than usual, but that around noon traffic will heat up with early departures from work. I would leave no later than 6 AM - you will beat AM rush in Boston, Hartford (which is never that horrible) and make it thru NY metro area prior to noon. You might hit some congestion in northern NJ, but I don't guess that will be terrible at that hour.

Mapping programs/GPS will tell you it takes just under 5 hours - they lie. There is always some issue somewhere.
gail is offline  
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Jun 6th, 2013, 03:14 AM
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We live in central CT and did the run to North Carolina when DS was in college. We found that if we left here at 4 am we would breeze through on 91 to 95 or 15 (Merit Tpk, Hutchinson etc) to George Washington Bridge. If we had to leave later then we did 84 to Tappan Zee which does not have wonderful signage.

Listen to the local radio stations for traffic. All it takes is a fender bender to tie things up and you can hope the road construction is halted for the holiday.
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Jun 6th, 2013, 05:49 AM
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Agree with the route suggested by Gail. I think you might run into some problems in NJ as people head down to the shore for what for many will be a four day weekend.

Have you considered taking the Acela between Boston and Trenton?
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Jun 6th, 2013, 03:35 PM
  #5
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Thanks, all! I was hoping I wouldn't have to leave as early as 6 but afraid I might.

Any idea whether it would be better to take 84 or 15 to get to the Tappan Zee, and then whether 287 or the Garden State Pkwy will be better once across it?

Fra_D, the train really isn't an option this trip, as I am continuing on to southern PA for the weekend and will need the car there.
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Jun 6th, 2013, 03:48 PM
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84 or 15: not a great difference, I'd say.
Probably Garden State, but make sure you have EasyPass.
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Jun 6th, 2013, 04:26 PM
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287 versus Garden State Prkway - toss-up. Some may depend on weather, as Parkway may have more beach traffic. I have had more annoying tie-ups on 287, but they were specific traffic events, so perhaps was just unlucky.

I take Rte 84 - mostly because I always have.
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Jun 6th, 2013, 07:17 PM
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I don't have EasyPass and drive on toll roads so infrequently that it's not worth it to get one. So maybe 287 will be better.

Thanks for the feedback!
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Jun 6th, 2013, 07:20 PM
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It doesn't cost anything to get an easy pass, just link it to a credit card and the Massachusetts one is good along most of the east coast.
emalloy is offline  
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Jun 7th, 2013, 03:20 AM
  #10
 
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You can pick up a transponder at the Danvers RMV office - and many other DMV offices (or the EZ Pass service centers in Auburn or Natick) - info on EZPass website. According to website if you get it at RMV you have to wait 3 business days for it to be activated, so get one in enough time.

I suggest you get one. As mentioned, free. Good for Bridges/tunnels into Boston and also now NH/Maine toll roads and bridges.

On Garden State Parkway there is technology that allows you to drive at speed limit and some magic transponder reader overhead reads it - if you don't have one you must exit and return to highway. Also works on Tappan Zee Bridge, MassPike.
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Jun 7th, 2013, 06:46 AM
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For this trip, no matter which route you choose, and especially around July 4, EasyPass is your friend. Ignore it at your peril.
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