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Author Topic: Planning for Kings Dominion trip  (Read 11750 times)

1995hoo

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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2015, 02:37:26 PM »

I'd say going down I-81 to I-70 is too far out of the way because US-15 to Frederick is far more direct and moves right along at 60 to 65 mph for most of the way (speed limits vary; generally 55 in Maryland, 65 in Pennsylvania near Gettysburg, and lower further to the north towards Harrisburg). You emerge at the same place you'd reach via I-81 and I-70 but without wasting time going all the way to Hagerstown.
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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #26 on: September 13, 2015, 02:55:10 PM »

I'd say going down I-81 to I-70 is too far out of the way because US-15 to Frederick is far more direct and moves right along at 60 to 65 mph for most of the way (speed limits vary; generally 55 in Maryland, 65 in Pennsylvania near Gettysburg, and lower further to the north towards Harrisburg). You emerge at the same place you'd reach via I-81 and I-70 but without wasting time going all the way to Hagerstown.
It depends. Some parts of US 15 are not freeway north of Frederick until the PA state line. You do get a freeway segment south of Gettysburg though. I slog through Hagerstown cause I find it faster to hit I-81 Exit 10 rather than head to Gettysburg, which is 24 miles from here.
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1995hoo

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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2015, 03:17:21 PM »

Yeah, I know where those couple of traffic lights are through the small commercial zone in the Dillsburg area. I've never found them to slow the trip all that much. In Maryland Route 15 is almost all expressway-grade until you reach Frederick, but it's a quick drive. The fact that it's not a "freeway" isn't a reason to avoid it.

Coming from Chambersburg the Hagerstown route would indeed probably make more sense given how far down it is. But from Harrisburg you're basically taking the two sides of a triangle of you go that way, whereas going via Gettysburg essentially uses the more direct hypotenuse. (Oversimplification to be sure, but a fair way to think about it.)
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"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #28 on: September 14, 2015, 12:09:20 PM »

Given the OP's origin, even going to Harrisburg is going out of the way for a lot of extra mileage and basically zero time savings.  Nevermind that Noel's suggestion puts one on the 2nd busiest section of the DC Beltway plus the slog that is 270 (which IMO is orders of magnitude worse than 95 in Maryland).
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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2015, 03:40:28 PM »

I-95 is really a mixed bag in every state but Maine. Sometimes backups can be endless, but sometimes it can be smooth flowing. I don't really know if it's better safe than sorry, because I've been on I-270 at night between the southern terminus and I-370 and it was smoothly flowing. The only time I-270 had a bad backup was the last time I went to DC and it wasn't so bad.
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1995hoo

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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #30 on: September 14, 2015, 08:28:42 PM »

Given the OP's origin, even going to Harrisburg is going out of the way for a lot of extra mileage and basically zero time savings.  Nevermind that Noel's suggestion puts one on the 2nd busiest section of the DC Beltway plus the slog that is 270 (which IMO is orders of magnitude worse than 95 in Maryland).


Yeah, I was just responding to his point about I-78 to I-81. If I were going to go that way to the I-95 corridor in Virginia, I'd always opt for Route 15 for the reasons I already stated, unless of course I had a reason why I needed to stop in Hagerstown or Winchester or some such.
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—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #31 on: September 14, 2015, 08:45:40 PM »

Going via Winchester could make some sense in certain situations if one used I-66 to US 17 to Fredericksburg

Mike
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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #32 on: September 15, 2015, 12:16:24 AM »

Going via Winchester could make some sense in certain situations if one used I-66 to US 17 to Fredericksburg

Mike

OT, but is US 15 terrible between US 29 south of Haymarket and US 340?  I always thought that I had to sneak over to I-81 or else trouble to head towards Harrisburg, I do know that the part north of Leesburg is apparently unsafe.
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Mapmikey

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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #33 on: September 15, 2015, 06:23:00 AM »

Going via Winchester could make some sense in certain situations if one used I-66 to US 17 to Fredericksburg

Mike

OT, but is US 15 terrible between US 29 south of Haymarket and US 340?  I always thought that I had to sneak over to I-81 or else trouble to head towards Harrisburg, I do know that the part north of Leesburg is apparently unsafe.

US 15 around Leesburg can be pretty bad although removing the intersection at SR 643 just south of VA 7 EB split (no idea if construction related to this is still ongoing) should improve this greatly.  When the 643 stoplight was there it backed 15 SB way up and it was actually faster to use 15 Business through Leesburg than the bypass. 

North of Leesburg, especially NB, 15 is slow during typical afternoon rush hour times all the way to Point of Rocks.  Lucketts has heavy speed enforcement.  Speed limit from Leesburg to MD is 45 outside of Lucketts.  There are a fair number of accidents on 15 between Lucketts and MD.

In Maryland, US 15 is fast once you clear the roundabout at MD 464 and I believe the accident rate on 15 is high.

South of Leesburg 15 is being built up, so there is more local traffic than there used to be.  The Gilberts Corner (US 50) area is also now slower because there are 2 roundabouts to navigate to remain on US 15.

US 15 can also be pretty busy in the I-66 to VA 55 area as there are several large developments north of I-66.

That said, if I am in Frederick MD and it is a weekday, I will use US 15 to US 17 instead of I-270 and I-95 because it is likely still faster on 15 despite its flaws.  If it is a weekend I do the opposite.

US 15 at night is full of deer.

Mike
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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #34 on: September 15, 2015, 06:58:59 AM »

Quote
The Gilberts Corner (US 50) area is also now slower because there are 2 roundabouts to navigate to remain on US 15.

Given how the old Gilberts Corner signal operated, I think things are actually better with the roundabouts.  However, I do agree with this statement:

Quote
That said, if I am in Frederick MD and it is a weekday, I will use US 15 to US 17 instead of I-270 and I-95 because it is likely still faster on 15 despite its flaws.  If it is a weekend I do the opposite.
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1995hoo

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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #35 on: September 15, 2015, 07:21:30 AM »

Also note that Route 15's interchange with I-66 is slated for reconstruction, independent of the proposal to build HO/T lanes on the Interstate. I don't know when the interchange work is supposed to begin, but the plan is to convert it to a DDI. It'd make some sense to defer the work until it's decided whether and how they'll rebuild I-66, but the interchange certainly does need an overhaul either way.

It's funny this question came up now. We met some friends at Tysons on Saturday and three of them live up in Damascus. There was a diesel spill on the Beltway and the traffic monitors at the mall were quoting 102 minutes to Rockville, so our friends went up to Point of Rocks and took 15 to Frederick. They said the problem was everyone else had the same idea. But they still got home more quickly than they would have on the Beltway and I-270.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2015, 07:23:39 AM by 1995hoo »
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

Mapmikey

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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #36 on: September 15, 2015, 07:41:33 AM »

Quote
The Gilberts Corner (US 50) area is also now slower because there are 2 roundabouts to navigate to remain on US 15.

Given how the old Gilberts Corner signal operated, I think things are actually better with the roundabouts.  However, I do agree with this statement:




Generally my experience with US 15 through the stoplight had always been pretty decent.  It always looked like US 50 through there was slow, though...

Mike
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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #37 on: September 15, 2015, 08:38:25 AM »

I took the US-340 to US-15 route on the way home from Harper's Ferry, and found it to be a pretty slow go once you got into VA. The growth of the DC exurbs has led to a ton of additional traffic on the route, especially on the Leesburg "Bypass". Most of it is also posted at 45 MPH IIRC, so that doesn't help.
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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #38 on: September 15, 2015, 09:22:49 AM »

Quote from: 1995hoo
Also note that Route 15's interchange with I-66 is slated for reconstruction, independent of the proposal to build HO/T lanes on the Interstate. I don't know when the interchange work is supposed to begin, but the plan is to convert it to a DDI. It'd make some sense to defer the work until it's decided whether and how they'll rebuild I-66, but the interchange certainly does need an overhaul either way.

One won't preclude the other...and upgrading the interchange is a far more pressing need than HOT lanes on 66.

Quote from: Thing342
Most of it is also posted at 45 MPH IIRC, so that doesn't help.

Only between Leesburg and Point of Rocks is 15 consistently 45 MPH.  It's 55 MPH north of Point of Rocks as well as most of the leg between Haymarket and Leesburg (it's certainly posted 55 MPH at the 234 intersection, unless things have changed in the past year-and-a-half).  About half the section between Haymarket and US 29 is also 55 MPH.
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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #39 on: September 15, 2015, 02:11:54 PM »

How far west of US 15 at Haymarket would the HOT lanes go? There is some kind of project currently underway on I-66 that begins west of that exit and proceeds through it.

My (admittedly limited) experience is that US 15 is the boundary between very heavy traffic on 66 and traffic indicative of a normal rural interstate. My journey through the interchange Sunday was anecdotal evidence of that.

And a DDI will probably help there. Traffic was very heavy at that interchange and also at the VA 55 intersection. I gassed up at Sheetz and then pulled back onto northbound 15 to get back on I-66. I had to wait an inordinate amount of time before I could pull onto 15, and the light there seemed to back traffic up to the Sheetz entrance/exit.
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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #40 on: September 15, 2015, 04:01:29 PM »

How far west of US 15 at Haymarket would the HOT lanes go? There is some kind of project currently underway on I-66 that begins west of that exit and proceeds through it.

My (admittedly limited) experience is that US 15 is the boundary between very heavy traffic on 66 and traffic indicative of a normal rural interstate. My journey through the interchange Sunday was anecdotal evidence of that.

And a DDI will probably help there. Traffic was very heavy at that interchange and also at the VA 55 intersection. I gassed up at Sheetz and then pulled back onto northbound 15 to get back on I-66. I had to wait an inordinate amount of time before I could pull onto 15, and the light there seemed to back traffic up to the Sheetz entrance/exit.

The project currently underway is to add a regular lane and an HOV lane from slightly west of US 15 to US 29.  It will look just like 66 does east of US 29.  Scheduled to open Aug '16.

Mike
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1995hoo

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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #41 on: September 15, 2015, 08:33:56 PM »

Quote from: 1995hoo
Also note that Route 15's interchange with I-66 is slated for reconstruction, independent of the proposal to build HO/T lanes on the Interstate. I don't know when the interchange work is supposed to begin, but the plan is to convert it to a DDI. It'd make some sense to defer the work until it's decided whether and how they'll rebuild I-66, but the interchange certainly does need an overhaul either way.

One won't preclude the other...and upgrading the interchange is a far more pressing need than HOT lanes on 66.

....

Definitely agreed on the priority. When I posted that this morning, what I couldn't remember and didn't have the time to look up was whether any of the HO/T proposals involved a dedicated exit at Route 15. My thought was that if any of them did, it might make sense to wait on the work until they'd decided what they were going to do, simply to avoid building something only to turn around and rip it up to modify it. But I just now looked at the diagrams online and there are no dedicated ramps planned, so it certainly makes sense to move on it as part of the current widening.

What would be nice is if they could also eliminate the at-grade railroad crossing just south of there. During the years of construction in Gainesville I occasionally wondered whether the new configuration there, when complete, might reduce the number of people who use Route 15 as a bypass. After a couple of trips through that area this summer, I kind of doubt it will have a huge effect on that particular traffic just because there are so many annoying traffic lights on Route 29 between I-66 and Route 15, many of them new within the last five to ten years. If you take 29, you're going to get stuck at a couple of red lights at some point, so a fair number of people will still take 15 because it has way fewer lights.

BUT in the overall scheme of things, there are other projects that need to be higher priorities than eliminating that grade crossing. I've sometimes gone further west to the Great Meadow exit and turned south on Route 17 to connect to Route 29 outside Warrenton when I've been headed to Charlottesville on Friday nights and the line to exit at Haymarket was too long. Longer distance, but it didn't take all that much longer in terms of time.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
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commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #42 on: September 15, 2015, 09:37:03 PM »

Given the OP's origin, even going to Harrisburg is going out of the way for a lot of extra mileage and basically zero time savings.  Nevermind that Noel's suggestion puts one on the 2nd busiest section of the DC Beltway plus the slog that is 270 (which IMO is orders of magnitude worse than 95 in Maryland).

There's no chance I would go all the way out to Harrisburg and down 81 just to get to Doswell. And yeah, although I haven't personally driven it yet, I-270 looks like it would be a clusterfuck judging by the area its in, and the fact that Gaithersburg, Frederick and Rockville are all decently sized small cities.

Google Maps suggests taking the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (MD 295) down to the Capital Beltway instead of taking I-95 through Baltimore. I seem to remember us taking MD 295 when our class went to the Holocaust Museum, because I can definitely remember seeing some of the same general area as I do looking at photos on AARoads / GMSV, and I don't remember it being bad. I feel like that's probably a viable alternative. Any thoughts on that?

Still, I would love to get off the highway and experience US 301...
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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #43 on: September 15, 2015, 09:52:15 PM »

The BW Parkway is a more scenic drive, especially during the fall when the leaves are turning, but do note it's only two lanes per side for most of its length and the speed limit is 55 mph (unless it's been changed recently). I-95 is four lanes per side between the Beltways and carries a 65-mph speed limit (which is unlikely to go up in two weeks when the 70-mph law takes effect). If you're going through during rush hour, I-95 is almost certainly the better option. At other times, the Parkway is usually fine as long as you accept that it's hard to go as fast on there as you could on the Interstate.

I've taken a liking to using I-97 instead of either of the aforementioned routes. I've tried both I-97 to MD-3 to US-50 and I-97 all the way to US-50; in either case, I then take 50 west to the Beltway. The latter route is a bit out of the way due to the added distance involved in going almost all the way to Annapolis, but I found it to be marginally faster due to eliminating several traffic lights on Route 3. Also, while Route 50 is posted at 65 mph, I'd say traffic moves closer to 75–80 if things are free-flowing.

Regarding I-270, it can be fine, but it can be awful. I find the biggest problem on there is usually the disproportionate number of extremely aggressive drivers. You could be doing 80 in a 55 zone and someone would tailgate you for being too slow. I usually just get in the second lane from the right (out of four), set my cruise control at 65, and laugh at the people having conniptions because they think I'm not going fast enough.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

74/171FAN

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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #44 on: September 16, 2015, 12:02:22 AM »

I drove I-270 for the first time a few weeks ago around 1 pm.  The best way to describe what hoo is saying IMO is to think of a NASCAR race at Daytona and Talladega from what I saw that day.  :pan:
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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #45 on: September 16, 2015, 08:37:02 AM »

Quote
Google Maps suggests taking the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (MD 295) down to the Capital Beltway instead of taking I-95 through Baltimore. I seem to remember us taking MD 295 when our class went to the Holocaust Museum, because I can definitely remember seeing some of the same general area as I do looking at photos on AARoads / GMSV, and I don't remember it being bad. I feel like that's probably a viable alternative. Any thoughts on that?

As a general rule, 95 is more reliable.  BW Parkway will often clog up, even on weekends.
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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #46 on: September 16, 2015, 09:27:18 AM »



Still, I would love to get off the highway and experience US 301...

301 is fairly busy but outside of rush hour moves OK.  Biggest potential for hang-ups is from the MD 5 north split south through Waldorf.  This can be really bad during a rush hour.

The Potomac River Bridge can back up on busy travel days SB due to the toll booth.

In Virginia once you clear the Dahlgren area (first 3 miles into Virginia) it would be pretty much wide open and rural to VA 30.

Mike

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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #47 on: October 07, 2015, 11:40:43 PM »

So we're leaving Friday at about 4 PM (right after work) to hopefully beat some of the traffic we'll encounter heading south. We'll be staying literally across the street from the park, so no need to worry about rushing in the mornings.

On Sunday, we might linger in Richmond for a bit before heading back to New Jersey. Anyone know anything that would be worthwhile to see in Richmond? I know a lot of Confederate items still exist in the former capital of the Confederacy, so that might be fun to peruse.
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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #48 on: October 08, 2015, 06:28:48 PM »

The Virginia State Capitol's worth a visit.
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Re: Planning for Kings Dominion trip
« Reply #49 on: October 10, 2015, 09:28:42 PM »

Currently in Doswell, VA... Damn this state is rather pretty and much different compared to my native homelands of New Jersey. The ride down was filled with congestion, monster thunderstorms and aggressive driving, but it was a decent trip... We left at 4:15 from work in Ewing, NJ and it took a total of 5 1/2 hours to get to the hotel. The only stop was at the Chesapeake House in Maryland for some food and a bathroom break.

Tomorrow is the tour of Richmond before heading back up north.
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