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User Content => Road Trips => Topic started by: on_wisconsin on May 21, 2014, 01:19:00 AM

Title: Wisconsin to Washington D.C.
Post by: on_wisconsin on May 21, 2014, 01:19:00 AM
There is a strong possibility of my family and I making a last minute trip to DC this up coming weekend. The plans are tentatively to leave early Saturday morning (5/24) and return in time for work Wednesday morning (5/28).

What would be the fastest way to the Capitol and back, time is of the essence. Are there any major detours to be aware of?
(Side trips and/or taking the long way for roadgeeking are sadly not on the docket this time.)

Madison, WI to Washington D.C.

Any routing help or suggestions would be appreciated.
Title: Re: Wisconsin to Washington D.C.
Post by: froggie on May 21, 2014, 06:12:20 AM
Bring your EZPass or equivalent.  Hate to say it, but the fastest way is basically along the major freeways/tollways, including Breezewood…I-90/I-80/I-70/I-270.  Plan on about 14-15 hours, based on the 18hr DC-Minneapolis drive I did when my father passed a few years ago.  I took the Tri-State around Chicago.
Title: Re: Wisconsin to Washington D.C.
Post by: 1995hoo on May 21, 2014, 04:21:50 PM
In terms of detours, in DC there will be road closures around the National Mall (the large area of grass and trees between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial—not a shopping mall!) on both Sunday and Monday.

Sunday is the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally, which runs from the Pentagon in Virginia across Arlington Memorial Bridge, up Constitution Avenue to Third Street NW, across the Mall, then back down Independence Avenue to West Potomac Park between the Lincoln and FDR Memorials. Streets are usually closed along the route from mid-morning through around 4:00 PM. Expect to see lots of motorcycles heading to and from DC all weekend and on the days before and afterwards.

Monday afternoon is the Memorial Day parade on Constitution Avenue; it follows the standard parade route from 7th to 17th Streets NW, though there will be other street closures for staging and dispersal areas. There are likely to be street closures at other times because the president or vice president usually goes to Arlington Cemetery for a wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns. I believe that event is at 10:30 AM this year, but I don't know which official will attend.

Parking meters are not enforced on Sunday or on Memorial Day except on Monday they are enforced in the areas near Nationals Park because there's a ballgame at 1:35 PM.

Once you pass Frederick, Maryland, I recommend listening to the DC-area traffic reports on 103.5-FM (WTOP) and 99.1-FM (WNEW). Traffic snarls seem to happen randomly all over the area. In terms of coming into the city from the northwest, if you're headed to downtown DC or to Georgetown the easiest route is probably to come down I-270 and bear right onto the I-270 Spur when the road splits just south of Montrose Road. The Spur dumps you onto I-495. Cross the bridge into Virginia and immediately take the first exit on your right (Exit 43) for the George Washington Memorial Parkway. You can follow that to several of the bridges into the city. Depending on where you're staying, of course, some other route might be better; I cite this one simply because I think it's the easiest all-highway route for someone from out of town to follow if your destination is downtown or Georgetown (use the Key Bridge exit to get to Georgetown).

I think froggie is right about the fastest way. One thought. Breezewood sometimes backs up big time. If you're on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and you become aware that Breezewood is badly congested, the best alternative if you're in a hurry, in my experience, is to exit at Bedford (the exit before Breezewood) and follow the signs to US-30. Take that east to Breezewood and pick up I-70 there. I prefer to take US-220 south to I-68 and head east that way, but that route involves a longer off-Interstate segment driving on a two-lane road (a pretty good two-lane road, though) and it's thus likely to be slower.
Title: Re: Wisconsin to Washington D.C.
Post by: Alps on May 21, 2014, 08:16:05 PM
Some road enthusiasts may be in the area Saturday-Sunday, if you have any spare time Sunday night perchance.
Title: Re: Wisconsin to Washington D.C.
Post by: JREwing78 on May 21, 2014, 09:07:49 PM
Bring your EZPass or equivalent.  Hate to say it, but the fastest way is basically along the major freeways/tollways, including Breezewood…I-90/I-80/I-70/I-270.  Plan on about 14-15 hours, based on the 18hr DC-Minneapolis drive I did when my father passed a few years ago.  I took the Tri-State around Chicago.

I-90 is still a 40+ mile construction zone with a 45 mph speed limit east of Rockford, so you'll want to either take I-94 through Milwaukee or take I-39 down to I-88 at Rochelle and cut over.

The Indiana Toll Road, Ohio Turnpike, and Pennsylvania Turnpike is certainly the fastest route, and likely the smoothest route (though there's considerable construction activity on the Ohio Turnpike this year). I've never encountered traffic problems on the Indiana Toll Rd once I'm past Valparaiso. Traffic is pretty tame between there and Toledo. Once you hit Toledo, the Ohio Turnpike is 3 lanes each way all the way to Youngstown (aside from one section being widened this season). 

The alternative (such as it is) is I-65 south to Indy, then I-70 across Indiana and Ohio to Washington, PA; I-79 south to I-68, then I-68 across Maryland to I-70. Google claims it's only another half-hour and 40 miles of driving, but it also shows I-70 currently flooded out on the north side of Dayton, OH. It may open up by Saturday. It may not [EDIT: Yeah, not so much - http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/688797-interstate-70-flooding-i-70-traffic-jam-closed-near-dayton-ohio/].

If you follow I-65 to I-70, you also have to drive through Indianapolis and Columbus. I-65 and I-70 are also only two lanes in each direction (for the most part) and get heavy traffic.
Title: Re: Wisconsin to Washington D.C.
Post by: froggie on May 22, 2014, 09:09:29 AM
Quote
I-90 is still a 40+ mile construction zone with a 45 mph speed limit east of Rockford, so you'll want to either take I-94 through Milwaukee or take I-39 down to I-88 at Rochelle and cut over.

39 to 88 would be the better bet here…less mileage and traffic than 94 (though still about 20 miles longer than staying on I-90), plus Chicago traffic avoidance options are more numerous coming in from the west (via 90 or 88) than they are coming from the north (via 94).
Title: Re: Wisconsin to Washington D.C.
Post by: Brandon on May 22, 2014, 10:09:57 AM
Quote
I-90 is still a 40+ mile construction zone with a 45 mph speed limit east of Rockford, so you'll want to either take I-94 through Milwaukee or take I-39 down to I-88 at Rochelle and cut over.

39 to 88 would be the better bet here…less mileage and traffic than 94 (though still about 20 miles longer than staying on I-90), plus Chicago traffic avoidance options are more numerous coming in from the west (via 90 or 88) than they are coming from the north (via 94).

Plus, you can cut down to I-80 at two different points, I-355 or I-294 from I-88.
Title: Re: Wisconsin to Washington D.C.
Post by: on_wisconsin on May 30, 2014, 12:55:22 AM
We did end up taking the trip, great time overall; here are few salient points:
Title: Re: Wisconsin to Washington D.C.
Post by: BrianP on June 02, 2014, 06:47:21 PM
Quote
I-70 through Maryland was very smooth but most of the over/underpass(s) looked like they could crumble at anytime.
I don't recall them being that bad.  But it's been about five years since I've been that way.

There are two construction projects that you went through to replace underpasses for MD 63 and Conococheague Creek.  They will also be wide enough for 6-laning I-70.

But much of the bridges west of Frederick are original bridges which means they are at least 40 years old. 

I don't see any other projects for bridge replacements on I-70.  Even though there are at least these which are sub standard:
https://goo.gl/maps/Xcu5y

But those probably go back to the oldest parts of I-70 that were built as US 40 upgrades.