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Memorial Day traffic on NJ Turnpike

Old May 21st, 2004, 03:39 AM
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Memorial Day traffic on NJ Turnpike

We have to travel to DE for a Memorial Day weekend wedding. We can't leave before 3pm on Friday.
MapQuest suggests taking I95 through CT and NY to the NJ Turnpike all the way to DE. Will we experience a ton of traffic heading to the beaches or is the Turnpike inland enough to avoid that?
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Old May 21st, 2004, 04:05 AM
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I can't speak to Memorial Day, but as far the the NJ T'pike on other holiday weekend eves my experience as far as congestion is as follows:

1. George Washington Bridge outbound
2. Toll Plaza at 16W
3.Newark Airport (Less congestion in though Express Lanes)
4.Approaching Exit 11 (Garden State Parkway)
5. Southbound as you near Exit 8A. (You might try getting around it by getting off earlier, at Exit 9, and taking Route 1 South - but it is certainly no picnic what with heavy traffic of its own and many stop lights.)
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Old May 21st, 2004, 04:51 AM
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When you get to NJ, tune in to 101.5. They give the traffic report on the major highways at 3 min after the hour and every 15 min thereafter.

Check the map -- you might want to get off the NJ Turnpike at Exit 4 and take 295 south (it parallels the Turnpike). It is not uncommon to have a 4-5 mile backups at Exit 1 (last toll on the Turnpike before you cross the Del Memorial Bridge.
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Old May 21st, 2004, 05:07 AM
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You don't say where you are coming from. I-95 thru CT may not be the best route for that part of the trip. Also, depending on where you are departing from, you might be better off leaving later on Friday
Once in NY you have two choices:
1. Connect to 287, go over the Tappan Zee Bridge, follow 287 to the Garden State Parkway. Follow until the NJ Turnpike.
2. Go over the George Washington Bridge to the NJ Turnpike.
Which way is best will depend on the traffic (and you're probably going to hit traffic no matter which one you choose). As you near NY, tune to 1010 (WINS) or 880 (WCBS) for traffic reports.
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Old May 21st, 2004, 05:19 AM
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Take Exit 7a of the NJ turnpike to 195 west to 295 south. you will miss some traffic
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Old May 21st, 2004, 06:46 AM
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If you are going to take Route 295 (which does parallel the turnpike) do not get off the NJ Turnpike at Exit 4 or Exit 7A. Get off at Exit 7... that's where 295 begins matching the turnpike. You could get off at Exit 7A, but you would have to travel West on 195 first before picking up 295 South... Exit 7 is more direct.

Of course, if the turnpike gets backed up earlier, you could get off at any number of exits. It often gets backed up at Exit 8A, known as the merge. You could get off there and take Route 130 South down to Bordentown where you would pick up 295.

While on the turnpike, tune to the AM radio station (I think it's 1160 but not sure) for traffic updates. There are signs on the roadway listing the station number... when the yellow lights are blinking it means there is a traffic advisory. Sometimes, they actaully close the turnpike south at Exit 4 because of traffic volume so I would avoid waiting until there to pick up 295 so you are not caught in the mess.
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Old May 21st, 2004, 07:04 AM
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Fridays on the NJ Tpke are always bad. Fridays on holiday weekends are horrendous.

Here's a suggestion: Any chance of waiting till early Sat. a.m. and leaving then? You might be better off.
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Old May 21st, 2004, 07:06 AM
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BTW, don't think you'll escape the mess by taking the GS Pkwy. It won't be any better, and might be worse.
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Old May 21st, 2004, 07:18 AM
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For regualar traffic updates, the radio station is actually 1060 AM.
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Old May 21st, 2004, 07:34 AM
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Thanks mcat.

Yeah, if traffic is really bad southbound, you may want to get off at Exit 9 to Route 1 South... then pick up Route 130 when it branches off.

If you don't mind driving at night, you might want to wait to leave until around 7 or so... not sure what the traffic would be like in CT, but by the time you got to NJ, the turnpike should be a little better... maybe.
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Old May 21st, 2004, 08:41 AM
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Thanks for the info. We are leaving from the New England area and headed to Wilmington, DE.

I checked the MapQuest info I printed out. It says NJ Turnpike becomes I-295S; merge onto I-95N toward Wilmington. Take US 202 toward Wilmington.
I'd rather not leave on Sat. a.m. and have to hurry and worry about getting there on time without being frazzled.
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Old May 21st, 2004, 09:24 AM
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You still didn't say where in New England you're leaving from. It could make a difference in giving the best directions for the CT part of your trip.
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Old May 21st, 2004, 10:36 AM
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The main problem people are telling you about is the toll plaza at Exit 1 of the NJTP, just before the Delaware River Bridge. Everybody has to stop, hand out the toll card to the attendant, and if they're stupid, will have to wait for the attendant to tell them how much they owe, then they get their wallet, find the money, hand it to the toll collector, wait for change, count the change... before driving off.

On major holidays, the NJTP can be backed up for miles because of extra traffic as well as large number of out-of-state travellers who have to go through what I described.

If you look at the map, you'll see that I-295 in NJ runs parallel to the NJTP for about 55 miles. Therefore, it's highly recommended that you switch over from NJTP to I-295 before hitting Exit 1. Your best bet, as descibed by others already, are Exit 7 and Exit 4, where it's easiest and shortest to switch between those two freeways.

If you need to fill up your tank, there are gas stations at either of those exits too. Might as well do it while you're off the freeway. Prices are usually slightly cheaper in NJ than in PA, DE, NY or CT. And don't fill up on the NJTP, as you'll see long lines at the service areas. [Only full-service in NJ.]

Also, you can consider taking Exit 13 off I-295 and take US130, then Commodore Barry Bridge (US322) over the Delaware. It joins I-95 in PA, and that may save you a few miles to Wilmington.
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