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Author Topic: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?  (Read 2988 times)

SkyPesos

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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #25 on: May 11, 2021, 11:02:56 PM »

Other than the roadgeekery aspect of it, I don't understand why anyone in Columbus would use US 33 and US 50 to reach Morgantown.

I know more people seem to be fans of US 35 around here, but despite what people think, US 33 is a pretty good route. I've driven US 50 around Parkersburg but not further. Both of those roads have been fine every time I've driven them, so as long as they get you to your destination, they are a viable option. But if you have to go too far out of your way, then, yes, the conventional routes are the ones you should take.

But for those who haven't taken Route 33 before, once you pass Petzinger Road going south, it's pretty good, IMO.

I don't know how I'm going to explain my trip to Evansville to the wife once I-69 is complete.
To Charleston from Columbus, it's a toss-up between 23/35 and 33. If I was driving between those two points, the two lane section of 33 may be worth taking over the mess that is US 23 between Chillicothe and I-270, which has much more truck traffic and a strip of traffic signals in various areas, notably Circleville. I have been on 33 between Columbus and Logan before, and it's a pretty nice drive with rolling hills.
Excluding Columbus, US 35 serves more areas in the greater Midwest than 33 does. It's part of the fastest route from Chicago to Charleston via 70 and 65 west of Dayton. From Cincinnati, you can use 71 to 35 if you're in the northern suburbs (where I am), or 32 to 35 from the city center or eastern suburbs.
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #26 on: May 11, 2021, 11:11:50 PM »

As far as SkyPesos aforementioned US-40 / PA-68 route, it only saves a total of 3 minutes vs. I-79, half of it tolled, and the other half is 2 lane backroads. Something I’d try to avoid on a long distance trip, of course unless you’re up for the change in pace which in that case maybe give it a try.
Only 3 minutes? I'm surprised the difference is that little considering that the PA 43/US 40 routing is like the hypotenuse of a right triangle while I-79/68 is the other two sides, even with the 2 lane US 40. The fact that you're going a bit far south in Morgantown to get onto I-68 before going back north on I-68 seems like it would add a good amount of time on that routing. Though I have seen proposals of a Northern Bypass for Morgantown floating around, which would definitely put I-79/68 over PA 43/US 40 for time.

The idea of a full northern Morgantown bypass is long dead. There's a half-baked plan that will eventually connect from I-79 to US 119 but you'd still be better off sticking to I-68.

US 40 has a gnarly mountain descent east of Uniontown. I don’t recall the speed limit for cars but for trucks it is 10 mph IIRC.

If time is an issue at all I use 70-79-68 for this corridor.

The problem with US 40 is that it has limited passing opportunities and a decent amount of traffic. It can get sluggish (~40-45mph) on weekends with tourists, especially west of PA 381. The hill into Uniontown isn't really an issue for cars as it has a 55mph speed limit and there are two lanes, so you can pass slow moving trucks.

If you're driving across the mountains in the wintertime, I'd stick to I-70's routing. I-68 and US 40 get a lot of snow in the higher elevations (east of Morgantown/Uniontown to Frostburg) and snow removal on US 40 and the WV part of I-68 can leave much to be desired. Even in the middle of summer, depending on weather conditions, you can see dense fog with very limited visibility on I-68 in Garrett County, Maryland.

US-33 to Athens, then US-50 east to Clarksburg, is a good route. Very little traffic, especially between Parkersburg and Clarksburg.

I've thought about doing this long before when I was just looking at the map, but I have yet to ever use i-68 and kind of wanted to do that. Maybe different routes coming and going, but you know how it is going home. You tend to want to get home.

US 50 is very boring, especially east of Parkersburg. If you're going to go via I-68, just take I-70 east from Columbus unless you're dying to drive Corridor D.
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #27 on: May 12, 2021, 07:48:35 AM »

Don't forget that I-70 also has a 40 mph zone in the vicinity of the Monongahela River...

Yikes, is there construction currently, or has there always been a 40 mph zone?
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #28 on: May 12, 2021, 08:20:36 AM »

Other than the roadgeekery aspect of it, I don't understand why anyone in Columbus would use US 33 and US 50 to reach Morgantown. I-70 is pretty much a straight shot east, and I-79 a straight shot south. You're traveling southeast on US 33 to get to a point where you go east on US 50 -- and Corridor D is curvier than you might expect -- only to have to drive 25 or so miles north on I-79 to get to I-68.

The time we did it, one major reason was a big construction project at the junction of I-70 and I-77 that was slowing the traffic down big-time. I'm sure that construction is done by now, of course. Another reason was just boredom with the Interstate.

As I noted, nine miles' difference (Google says 19 minutes' travel time difference) between the all-Interstate route and the US-33 > US-50 route. Aside from generally having a speed limit that's 5 mph higher between Columbus and Morgantown (mostly 70 mph versus mostly 65 mph), what's so much better about the Interstate?

I recognize I likely have some ingrained preference for getting off the Interstate because my father—who was by no means a roadgeek—often liked to get off the highway just to reduce some of the sense of sameness you get on the Interstate, though he did so judiciously to balance seeing something new with making reasonable time (so he would be unlikely to go 100 miles out of the way just to use a different route). In my mind, a difference of 20 minutes' travel time in a drive of 400+ miles is trivial, whereas of course I recognize if it were a short local drive that would be a totally different matter.
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #29 on: May 12, 2021, 12:39:22 PM »


I don't know how I'm going to explain my trip to Evansville to the wife once I-69 is complete.

You mean explain your routing, or your justification for going?

If the former, seems to me that from Columbus, a simple I-70 to I-69 routing would be best (although there were arguments that I-70 to US 41 only added a handful of miles to the trip when people were looking for reasons not to build I-69).

If the latter, me telling my wife, "I want to go drive such-and-such road" is usually answered by, "Have fun and be careful!"


As I noted, nine miles' difference (Google says 19 minutes' travel time difference) between the all-Interstate route and the US-33 > US-50 route. Aside from generally having a speed limit that's 5 mph higher between Columbus and Morgantown (mostly 70 mph versus mostly 65 mph), what's so much better about the Interstate?

That's one of those things that doesn't logically compute if you look at a map. Going basically due east on I-70 and then due south on I-79, vs. a long southeastward angle on US 33, followed by an eastward jaunt on US 50, then more or less due north to slightly northeastward on I-79 to get to the terminus of I-68.

Granted, I've been known to take WV 2, I-77, and US 50 to Clarksburg instead of I-64 and I-79 just for a change of pace, and I will typically default to WV 2 over the interstate between Parkersburg and Huntington, but that's mostly due to roadgeekery interests.

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SkyPesos

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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #30 on: May 12, 2021, 06:14:10 PM »


I don't know how I'm going to explain my trip to Evansville to the wife once I-69 is complete.

You mean explain your routing, or your justification for going?

If the former, seems to me that from Columbus, a simple I-70 to I-69 routing would be best (although there were arguments that I-70 to US 41 only added a handful of miles to the trip when people were looking for reasons not to build I-69).

If the latter, me telling my wife, "I want to go drive such-and-such road" is usually answered by, "Have fun and be careful!"
From Columbus to Evansville, isn't the most direct route currently I-71 to I-64? Though when I-69 is complete, you only have to deal with Indianapolis with 70-69, while there's both Cincinnati and Louisville to deal with on 71-64.
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #31 on: May 12, 2021, 06:48:55 PM »


I don't know how I'm going to explain my trip to Evansville to the wife once I-69 is complete.

You mean explain your routing, or your justification for going?

If the former, seems to me that from Columbus, a simple I-70 to I-69 routing would be best (although there were arguments that I-70 to US 41 only added a handful of miles to the trip when people were looking for reasons not to build I-69).

If the latter, me telling my wife, "I want to go drive such-and-such road" is usually answered by, "Have fun and be careful!"
From Columbus to Evansville, isn't the most direct route currently I-71 to I-64?
But the point of the trip would be to clinch I-69 I presume...
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #32 on: May 12, 2021, 10:33:21 PM »


From Columbus to Evansville, isn't the most direct route currently I-71 to I-64? Though when I-69 is complete, you only have to deal with Indianapolis with 70-69, while there's both Cincinnati and Louisville to deal with on 71-64.

Solely for the purpose of road geekery. I want to drive I-69 when it is finally complete!
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #33 on: May 13, 2021, 07:43:59 AM »

Don't forget that I-70 also has a 40 mph zone in the vicinity of the Monongahela River...

Yikes, is there construction currently, or has there always been a 40 mph zone?

I misspoke.  It is 45 mph from Exit 39 to Exit 42 and has been there back to at least 2007 (GMSV).
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #34 on: May 14, 2021, 12:23:11 PM »

....

As I noted, nine miles' difference (Google says 19 minutes' travel time difference) between the all-Interstate route and the US-33 > US-50 route. Aside from generally having a speed limit that's 5 mph higher between Columbus and Morgantown (mostly 70 mph versus mostly 65 mph), what's so much better about the Interstate?

That's one of those things that doesn't logically compute if you look at a map. Going basically due east on I-70 and then due south on I-79, vs. a long southeastward angle on US 33, followed by an eastward jaunt on US 50, then more or less due north to slightly northeastward on I-79 to get to the terminus of I-68.

Granted, I've been known to take WV 2, I-77, and US 50 to Clarksburg instead of I-64 and I-79 just for a change of pace, and I will typically default to WV 2 over the interstate between Parkersburg and Huntington, but that's mostly due to roadgeekery interests.

I suppose it's also fair to concede that from a map, it's not always apparent which US highways are functionally similar to Interstates (even if the speed limit may be slightly lower), such as US-33 southeast of Columbus, and it's definitely not apparent whether a given US highway lets you move at Interstate-like speeds despite having at-grade intersections, such as most of Corridor D between Parkersburg and Clarksburg allows. That's all the more so if the map is an electronic one like Google Maps, given that some paper maps do distinguish between full freeways and at-grade "expressways."
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #35 on: May 14, 2021, 02:59:53 PM »

I-68 may be a great way to shunpike, but that substandard section through Cumberland is a major problem for it.

I've driven that part of I-68 through Cumberland, MD.  You won't notice the slowdown there and you might stop in the area for a rest and food break, anyways.

Mike
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #36 on: May 15, 2021, 03:09:34 PM »

Of course you should do both. It depends what kind of ride you want:

I-70: in PA follows the PA turnpike, one of the earliest limited access freeways in the US. Beautiful mountain views, tunnels; narrow, tighter curves and heavy truck traffic, tolls. +/- Breezewood, I don't mind it.

I-68: one of the newest highways in the US, and engineered like other 1980s highways (US 31 in MI; I-43 around Sheboygan) through similarly beautiful mountains and passes. Less truck traffic, less harrowing than 70, no tolls. Nothing much interesting along the route.
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #37 on: May 15, 2021, 11:45:17 PM »

Sideling Hill and Cumberland are "nothing much interesting"?
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #38 on: May 16, 2021, 03:41:02 AM »

Probably just inertia, especially when considering that I-68 came much later compared to those segments of I-70.  Plus if you reroute I-70, you'd have to come up with 2 3di's to cover the orphaned segments on either side of the PA Turnpike.  (or perhaps an eastern I-72 for Washington-New Stanton and a southern extension of I-99 for Breezewood-Hancock... :awesomeface:)

Making the interstate that passes through Breezewood I-99 instead of I-70 would be extremely fitting, in a way...
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #39 on: May 16, 2021, 08:48:42 AM »

Sideling Hill and Cumberland are "nothing much interesting"?
...or the fact I-68 is consistently voted one of the most scenic interstate highways in the country in our polls?
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #40 on: May 16, 2021, 09:31:14 AM »

As someone that commutes daily on the substandard stretch of I-70 between Washington (PA) and New Stanton, I would recommend any other route. It is too narrow, no median space whatsoever (left lane is right against the barrier), and has way too much traffic for 4 narrow lanes. Plus, if there is an accident on that stretch (almost a daily occurrence because people drive way too fast given the substandardness of the road), traffic will be backed up for miles. If I recall correctly, there was a proposal years ago to build a new 6-lane I-70 in that area, but it never got approved.

Plus, let's not forget to mention the rapidly increasing tolls on the PA Turnpike and the cluster-you-know-what known as Breezewood.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2021, 09:33:38 AM by jmd41280 »
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #41 on: May 16, 2021, 11:21:10 AM »

I-68 may be a great way to shunpike, but that substandard section through Cumberland is a major problem for it.

I've driven that part of I-68 through Cumberland, MD.  You won't notice the slowdown there and you might stop in the area for a rest and food break, anyways.

Mike

That is another advantage of I-68.  You have more variety and more frequent opportunities for gas/food.  The Turnpike rest stops all have the same 5-6 food choices, and some are still closed due to COVID.  Exiting the Turnpike for anything else often incurs a "penalty" (entering at A, exiting & re-entering at B, and exiting at C costs more than going from A to C without exiting in-between). 
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #42 on: May 16, 2021, 12:32:34 PM »

I-68 may be a great way to shunpike, but that substandard section through Cumberland is a major problem for it.

I've driven that part of I-68 through Cumberland, MD.  You won't notice the slowdown there and you might stop in the area for a rest and food break, anyways.

Mike

That is another advantage of I-68.  You have more variety and more frequent opportunities for gas/food.  The Turnpike rest stops all have the same 5-6 food choices, and some are still closed due to COVID.  Exiting the Turnpike for anything else often incurs a "penalty" (entering at A, exiting & re-entering at B, and exiting at C costs more than going from A to C without exiting in-between).
You get a penalty just for choosing to take the Turnpike.
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #43 on: May 16, 2021, 04:25:28 PM »

As someone that commutes daily on the substandard stretch of I-70 between Washington (PA) and New Stanton, I would recommend any other route.

My first reaction was that I totally agree.  Except this is the same guy that for a whole year found it easier to commute from Greensburg to West Mifflin by using I-70 and PA-51 than using US-30 and whatever route to get across the Mon made sense that day.  I liked US-30 going home in the evenings, tending to prefer route over the Dravosburg Bridge.
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #44 on: May 16, 2021, 08:23:30 PM »

I-68 may be a great way to shunpike, but that substandard section through Cumberland is a major problem for it.

I've driven that part of I-68 through Cumberland, MD.  You won't notice the slowdown there and you might stop in the area for a rest and food break, anyways.

Mike

That is another advantage of I-68.  You have more variety and more frequent opportunities for gas/food.  The Turnpike rest stops all have the same 5-6 food choices, and some are still closed due to COVID.  Exiting the Turnpike for anything else often incurs a "penalty" (entering at A, exiting & re-entering at B, and exiting at C costs more than going from A to C without exiting in-between).
You get a penalty just for choosing to take the Turnpike.

Unless you live in Philly and want to reach Pittsburgh (or vice versa).  It costs you 45 minutes to cut down into MD from Carlisle.  Have to imagine taking US 30 would do the same thing.
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #45 on: May 19, 2021, 03:15:40 AM »

[

Probably just inertia, especially when considering that I-68 came much later compared to those segments of I-70.  Plus if you reroute I-70, you'd have to come up with 2 3di's to cover the orphaned segments on either side of the PA Turnpike. 

How about Interstate 176, 376, 576 or something like that?

How about leaving I-70 where it is, since Pittsburgh is a major metropolitan area and deserves to be served, directly or indirectly, by an Interstate ending in '0'? Besides, there's an ongoing reconstruction and modernization of the substandard segment of I-70 between Washington and New Stanton.
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #46 on: May 19, 2021, 06:16:33 AM »

since Pittsburgh is a major metropolitan area and deserves to be served, directly or indirectly, by an Interstate ending in '0'

Pittsburgh isn't as large as you think.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2021, 06:18:38 AM by 1 »
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #47 on: May 19, 2021, 08:59:53 AM »

Thanks for confirming my instincts about using I-68. Looking at it on the map and considering the convoluted route it follows in Pennsylvania, especially considering that break in Breezewood, I wonder why they just don't reroute I-70 along I-68. It would make a lot more sense. But maybe traffic would increase too much and toll revenue would decrease for Pennsylvania.

Probably just inertia, especially when considering that I-68 came much later compared to those segments of I-70.  Plus if you reroute I-70, you'd have to come up with 2 3di's to cover the orphaned segments on either side of the PA Turnpike.  (or perhaps an eastern I-72 for Washington-New Stanton and a southern extension of I-99 for Breezewood-Hancock... :awesomeface:)

There's no real reason to re-route and disturb numbering that's been in place for decades. The rebuilt sections of I-70 between Washington and New Stanton and on the Turnpike are pretty nice. Breezewood to Hancock is adequate, Breezewood itself aside. I-70 has greatly reduced grades compared to I-68, which is a big issue for trucks and, frankly, even some cars. I-70's current alignment also has better weather conditions with fewer problems from snow in winter and fog the rest of the year.
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #48 on: May 19, 2021, 04:17:51 PM »

Not that one person is any more anecdotal than, well, one person.... but I have a friend who has said he'll just use the Turnpike as the combo of hills and curves (and curves on hills) has made him a little carsick on I-68 in the past.

Personally, When heading to DC, Baltimore, Delmarva, I usually mix it up.   I'll head in one direction using the turnpike (in fairness, my starting point is in Pittsburgh, not Columbus), then I-68 and either US-219 or US-40 in the other direction.  Planning on going to the beach in a few weeks with my folks - looking forward to checking out the just-completed US-219 construction from I-68 to near the state line.
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Re: Columbus to DC: I-68 or I-70?
« Reply #49 on: May 20, 2021, 03:28:57 AM »

since Pittsburgh is a major metropolitan area and deserves to be served, directly or indirectly, by an Interstate ending in '0'

Pittsburgh isn't as large as you think.

First of all, it's one of only 34 Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the United States with at least 2,000,000 population, so yes, it is a major city, like it or not. Second of all, the only one of those 34 Metropolitan Statistical Areas that does not have at least one Interstate ending in '5' or '0' passing through it is Orlando, which a) was a sleepy backwater when the Interstate Highway System was signed into law, b) didn't pass 2,000,000 population until the 2010 Census, and c) is located on a peninsula, isolating it from the east/west portion of the Interstate grid.

This idea that Pittsburgh is not a major city is ignorant. And no, I don't want to hear about population loss either, unless you're also prepared to reroute I-75 away from Detroit, and I-80 and I-90 away from Cleveland. If those three Interstates all stay put, then I-70 stays fucking put as well.
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