Driving routes to Washington, D.C.

Old Mar 25th, 2015, 10:07 AM
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Driving routes to Washington, D.C.

Hello: Just wanted some input about driving from Long Island, NY to Wash. D.C. I have used Amtrack in the past, so this is the first time I will be driving there.
Any opinions on the time of day, I plan to depart Thur. of Easter wkend, and insider tips on driving routes? I thought instead of just following MapQuest I would post a question to drivers who have experience with this route.
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Old Mar 25th, 2015, 10:36 AM
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Most of the time I've found the NJ Turnpike across the Delaware Memorial Bridge to I-95 is about as good as it gets. If there's a problem on the turnpike south of Trenton I'll switch to I-295, and before it was widened US-130 north of Trenton, but that's rare now. Sometimes I'll go around the toll at the DE-MD line, but that's more for a break & because I'm cheap, that plaza almost never backs up anymore (at least for E-ZPass). I have yet to find a better way in Delaware when I-95 backs up. In Maryland, if I-95 is especially slow I may switch to US-40 for a change, but I'm not sure it really saves any time. Through Baltimore about half the time I'll take the Harbor Tunnel (I-895) to the B-W Parkway (MD-295), but most of the time it seems I-95 is just as fast. As far as time of day, I almost always find that the earlier in the day the better (I'm one of those who prefers to get through NYC at about 5:00 am), but even if I'm not that early I find I'm much more likely to get stuck in traffic in the afternoon than in the morning. (I've tried cutting through Pennsylvania as far west as Harrisburg and then cutting south a few times to avoid the "corridor", but it's never been an improvement for me.)
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Old Mar 25th, 2015, 05:13 PM
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jrsaf-- Roadman's reply has good information, goes along with my experiences. I would add, however, that because GPSs have been routing drivers down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway it is often very overcrowded and backed up. He's right that I-95 takes about the same time, even if it is a shorter distance.

If things get really horrible around Philly you can cut across Naayman's Road to Chadd's Ford (turn right at 202) and go down Route 1 for a while. You'll go through a few lights and then it's 20 miles of empty, open highway. I take that often when going to in-laws. Cut east again at Rt. 272 in Nottingham, where there is a convenient little Wawa. Follow the grooves on the road to I-95. Not a time saver unless there's an accident or stopped traffic as far as you can see when you get to that region.

You will probably beat most of the Easter traffic if you leave on Thursday. I'm not sure how things will be on the roads around NYC, but south of there I wouldn't expect a back-up until about two pm. If you get out early you might not have much of a problem at all. As the advertisement says, though, your mileage may vary. It is I-95 we're talking about here.

There have been times when coming back from NYC/Connecticut area that the Rt. 1 sneak has been a life saver, so keep that in your hip pocket.

I've found that the best way to save time lately is with an EZ-Pass. I don't use it all that often but when I do it's a huge boon.

As for which route to take into DC, that will depend on which part of DC you are going to. Can you give more specific info as to where you are headed?
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Old Mar 26th, 2015, 05:52 AM
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I want to thank both of you for such detailed answers. Just to be more specific I will be headed to the downtown area for sightseeing. My wife was considering using a bus to get there since we have to pay nightly for parking at the hotel, but with your helpful info I think the car will be my choice. Our nine y/o daughter will be with us, so the car allows me the option to stop when I want.
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Old Mar 26th, 2015, 06:16 AM
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Well, there actually IS an alternative and somewhat more scenic route into DC from New Jersey.

Take 95 South to Delaware 895 south and then pick up US 301. A bit slower and a lot less hectic than 95 and you could actually divert into Annapolis on the way.

Just a thought, that's all.
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Old Mar 26th, 2015, 07:45 AM
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I agree with Dukey1 with the added suggestion to avoid it on weekends--Bay Bridge busy eastbound on Fridays and westbound on Sundays.
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Old Mar 26th, 2015, 07:57 AM
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All good advice and if you have an i phone, i pad, android, etc. download the free WAZE app. It will give you real time (input from folks on the road) traffic conditions. You can check frequently and try to avoid the really bad tie-ups.
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Old Mar 26th, 2015, 11:37 AM
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Take the Belt around the southern perimeter of Long Island, go through Staten Island and go south through Staten Island to the Outerbridge Crossing to avoid the worst Northern NJ traffic. Then head down the Turnpike. Just go I-95 all the way to the DC area. That's the fastest way.
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