Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

I95/NJ Turnpike past DC - back on I 95 south of DC - at rush hour

I95/NJ Turnpike past DC - back on I 95 south of DC - at rush hour

Feb 13th, 2012, 01:31 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,283
I95/NJ Turnpike past DC - back on I 95 south of DC - at rush hour

Timing probably can't be avoided. Will be somewhere on I95 - between central NJ and Newark, DE for the night - midweek. Want to be in NC by mid-afternoon. Willing to leave early AM - like 6 or so, but not at 3 AM.

Have made this trip many times and usually take Del Memorial Bridge and then just try to time it and suck it up to deal with Baltimore and DC traffic and take the Beltway and then back on I95. Since coming from Boston area, have even tried taking the more western route after Tappan Zee Bridge - and that is nice thru Pennsylvania and Western VA, but turns into glorified cow paths after that.

So now that I have set up impossible restrictions, any suggestions other than just deal with the traffic?
gail is online now  
Feb 13th, 2012, 03:12 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,855
Is there a reason that you can't stick to the road for a couple more hours so you are just a bit south of DC for the night? We would try to make it to at least Quantico when we did this and started out in the morning going against traffic. Do take the bypass around Richmond if it is even close to rush hour.
emalloy is online now  
Feb 13th, 2012, 03:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,283
Can't leave Boston until mid-day and would rather fight DC rush hour than drive after dark thru DC - and even if I did, I would be fighting Baltimore/DC evening rush hour on Day 1.
gail is online now  
Feb 13th, 2012, 04:07 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,855
In that case, get as far south as you can and start as early as you can before stopping for the night. Do take the bypass around Richmond, and best of luck to you.
emalloy is online now  
Feb 13th, 2012, 04:40 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 58,297
gail, I'll be the opposing voice on taking the bypass around Richmond.....I don't think it's necessary and IME does not save time.
JanetKMR is offline  
Feb 13th, 2012, 05:12 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
Washington's rush hour will long be over by the time you get there if you stop near Mt Holly as I suggested in an earlier post and leave at a reasonable hour (not 5, not 6 -- that just puts you in the Baltimore rush hour).

Washington generally goes to work early and gets off early, so 9-3 are generally easy.

If you get near Newark, there is a Hampton Inn south of 95, but you have to go a couple of miles to find anything to eat other than a sandwich. Rush hour in the Wilmington/Newark area is somewhat worse -- though much shorter -- than Washington if you need to get off. The intersecting roads are inadequate, and traffic backs up a long way at the on ramps, ditto the tolls.

We have made it from Brookline all the way to White Marsh, north of Baltimore, where a Hampton Inn and Garden Inn sit next to each other -- in a shopping center with many food choices.

I would ordinarily skip the 295 bypass around Richmond, but one lane of 95 is closed for construction north of the I 64 interchange, and it is backing up traffic significantly.

I made this trip from Boston to Chapel Hill for seven years while my kids were undergrads at UNC. I usually went down 81 to Lynchburg, then 29 and others. Now we spend the winter in Richmond and almost always do 95. The alternative is 301 down through Maryland and over the bridge into VA, rejoining 95 north of Ashland, completely missing the Washington-NVA area AT THE COST OF crossing a very tall narrow bridge across the Potomac, which I won't do in bad weather.
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 13th, 2012, 05:12 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,303
Have you considered the US 301 bypass of DC traffic?

Take I-895 as you enter Baltimore.
Take I-97 south towards Annapolis (you may even see a sign saying this is the route to Fredericksburg -- yes, that's correct).
When you get to US Highway 50, go west towards Washington. You'll be contiguous with US Highway 301
Stay on US Highway 301 as it heads south, near Bowie.
Continue on US Highway 301 as it cross the Potomac into Virginia.
Leave US Highway 301 at Bowling Green, getting on State Highway 207, east towards I-95.
Fill up with gas and soda at the stations where Highway 207 intersects I-95 -- it's about the best deals you'll find.

I've found this route gets you far enough from Washington traffic to make up for the fact that 301 is not an expressway. For me, ANYTHING is better than getting stuck in the latter.
PaulRabe is offline  
Feb 13th, 2012, 06:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,819
Gail, Traffic on I95 between DC and Richmond has improved incrementally since the road widening projects have largely finished.

301 has its own traffic congestion issues these days during rush hour.

I check in with VDOT's 511 to see what problems are out there if I see red on my gps.

In all as you already know it's a big crap shoot.
obxgirl is online now  
Feb 13th, 2012, 07:58 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 35,112
I can tell you for certain that the very worst segment during the so-called rush hour will be between the Beltway and the Route 3 exit a F-burg. Once you get past that it will be much easier

And I agree with Janet about taking 295 around Richmond..higher speed limit and less traffic in my several passages.

As to by-passing Washington using 301 south. That can have a lot of traffic during rush hour as well and a lot of traffic lights but that might be a lot easier to endure than the crawl on 95 South
Dukey1 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2012, 08:05 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,235
It depends entirely on what part of NC you are headed for.
From Danbury CT to Winchester VA using The PA Turnpike and I-81 from Harrisburg is only 6 hours.
From Winchester you have the choice of going through Richmond in the morning or heading on down I-81 to I-77 to go to Charlotte. The cowpath you refer to is US 17 from I-66 to Fredricksburg where you get back on I-95.
Many years ago I heard the area referred to as BosNyWash.
tomfuller is offline  
Feb 13th, 2012, 08:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,951
My NYC friend drives from NYC to about Fayetteville/Darlington in one day with no problem.
Gretchen is offline  
Feb 13th, 2012, 02:50 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,283
Yikes - more confused than ever, but thanks. I want to drive 6-7 hours max from north of Boston the first day. Wish I could do more miles, but departure time and my increasing difficulty with alertness alone on highway after dark prevents it.

North Carolina - going to Greensboro/Burlington area.

Have also done Boston-NC trip in one day - but with 2 drivers and leaving much earlier in the day. Just can't do it that way this time.

The "cowpaths" I refer to were from someplace in Virginia to NC - it put me approaching Burlington, NC from a western route - but if there is a reasonable way to from Harrisburg to a real road, that might be a possibility.
gail is online now  
Feb 13th, 2012, 05:15 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,235
How about 8 hours from Woburn MA to Gettysburg PA (440 miles)?
US Rt. 15 is good from Camp Hill (Harrisburg) all the way to Fredrick MD where you pick up I-270 to hook into I-495 west of Washington to get back to I-95 toward Richmond.
tomfuller is offline  
Feb 14th, 2012, 12:45 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
Back again. Not threadsitting, but I know where you are going, and I have driven this route many times. I would look at the Google Maps route, ask for alternatives, and follow their I-81 route with one deviation: move the route away from the GW Bridge, then cross the Tappan Zee and go from there: 287, 78, 81, 29.

You are on US 29 for some time from Staunton, VA to your destination, but it is four lane and moves pretty quickly. It passes through the edges of some small cities (Lynchburg, Danville) but not through the heart of anything. Fewer trucks than on the interstates. There are places to stay around Allentown (maybe too early) then again around Carlisle and Chambersburg. Nice scenery.

Buy gas in Jersey.

I am not mentioning your destination because I assume it has something to do with your daughter's college, and I don't want her privacy invaded.
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 14th, 2012, 01:47 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,283
Is Rte 29 really NOT a cowpath? That may be the route I took once before. Whether or not I take that path southbound, I would take it going north since I am stopping in Roanoke and Winchester VA areas.
gail is online now  
Feb 14th, 2012, 09:33 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
Most of it is like Route 3 to the Cape.

The worst of it is a congested area around Greensboro, which is farther west than you need to be anyway.

Google directions from Danville to your destination, and it will send you down 29 to NC 150 and NC 87 to the destination: one hour and three minutes.

Anything is better than I 85 and I 95 from the Delaware line to Petersburg.
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 14th, 2012, 09:55 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 11,146
I don't know if it would be a better route than Akislanders but we do Rt 1 from Newark De to 13 and down the Eastern shore. I know Newark De very well and can get you around the toll and past traffic if you do end up there. There are a ton of good restaurants and places to stay close to 95.
Birdie is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
United States
Jun 22nd, 2010 08:57 AM
United States
Aug 15th, 2008 09:09 AM
United States
Aug 27th, 2005 11:50 AM
United States
Jul 29th, 2005 04:51 AM
United States
Jul 16th, 2002 06:30 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:34 AM.