How Bad Can it Be -- The Beltway?

Old Jun 1st, 2003, 07:14 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 237
How Bad Can it Be -- The Beltway?

We're traveling from Northeast Indiana to the Outer Banks (Avon). We have stopover reservations at a hotel near the Richmond airport. Our group includes three older teens who will be driving in their own car. All the map programs I've looked at suggest a route that skirts DC on the Beltway... on a Monday evening.
Now, these same boys successfully drove to Dupont Circle last year but that was on a Saturday night. They also managed to get lost for 45 minutes following the wrong car off a Penn Trnpk exit near Pittsburgh. And when we left DC late Sunday morning the traffic going South was horrid.
Is it worth the extra miles and maneuvering to avoid going near DC on a weekday evening? When I look at the atlas, it looks like I could drop off I70 at Hagerstown, travel south on 81 past Winchester, VA, take 66 to US17 to Fredericskburg.
Or would we be better off sticking with the Beltway and adjusting the time we arrive? When does rush hour end? Any suggestions will be appreciated.
edeevee is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2003, 07:22 AM
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I always go the RT 81 to Winchester, to 66 route. I got stcuk on the beltway more than few times and it can ruin an otherwise perfect trip to wait in traffic for hours.
RichinPA is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2003, 07:23 AM
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It would be a good idea to avoid the Beltway in the evening from the direction you are coming, because you'd be heading right into the rush. I commute in the opposite direction around 6-7 PM and see that the traffic is backed up.

My sister's family frequently travelled from Pittsburgh to Williamsburg and they would take rte 17, but from a point farther north. Taking I-81 from Hagerstown doesn't sound right.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Old Jun 1st, 2003, 11:53 AM
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By all means use I66 and rte 17. I live just south of the I66/I81 merge, and that is the way we go to Richmond.

Do not stay on I70 to I-81 in Hagerstown tho. It is shorter and takes less time if you get off I-70 at Hancock, MD exit 82 I believe, and take rte 522 s toward Winchester. Go as far as rte 37, turn right and take that to I-81.

That is the way we go anytime we are headed for I-70. In fact I'm leaving tomorrow for Shipshewana and that is also the way shows. Go to and enter your destination as Strasburg, VA for time and mileage to that point. Strasburg is about two miles south of the I-81/I-66 merge.
ronkala is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2003, 11:57 AM
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Thanks for all the help - and so quick too! ronkala, you're heading to shipshe? It's only about 20 miles from my home. Are you going to the flea market?
edeevee is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2003, 01:18 PM
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I'm going there for a ship's reunion. (USS Trathen DD-530) and we will be staying at the Farmstead Inn. I guess when we tire of telling sea stories and reliving that long ago good life, there will be time for the flea market. There will be guys there that I haven't seen in fifty years, so you know there will be a lot of catching up to do.
ronkala is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2003, 04:18 PM
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edeevee, I Checked the mileage and time at, and either way, it is 680 miles. 45 minutes longer going I-66 and rte 17, but worth it to avoid the beltway.
ronkala is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2003, 04:57 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Avoid the Beltway at all costs. Going the way the others have suggested is well worth your sanity, even if it is longer in mileage. Just make sure you watch your speed on 81. I got a ticket there once
internetwiz is offline  
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