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Author Topic: Toll Roads worth avoiding?  (Read 3812 times)

Mergingtraffic

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #50 on: July 08, 2019, 11:43:47 AM »

Every General Highway Talk thread seems to become a Mid-Atlantic thread at some point.

It's ok, almost every northeast thread becomes a mileage based exit discussion thread somehow.

But back on topic:
The round trip from CT to Baltimore using I-95 is about $60. 

I've cut it down to $20 but that's going around the Delaware toll, using I-295 instead of the NJ Tpke both there and back. 

SB only: you can use the Garden State Pkwy to cutdown on tolls.

NB only: I've used parts of US-1 and I-287 to the NY Thruway to I-84 back towards CT.  It adds a lot more time and mileage but I enjoyed the better scenery.  Plus I refuse to pay the PANYNJ tolls if I don't have to. 
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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #51 on: July 08, 2019, 11:41:05 PM »

I've said on other threads I completely avoid the Chesapeake Expwy, so that applies here as well.

I have avoided the Chicago Skyway at night. During the daytime I actually utilized it to duck at least some of the traffic in Chicago's south side en route to the ITR.
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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #52 on: July 09, 2019, 07:40:25 PM »

Every General Highway Talk thread seems to become a Mid-Atlantic thread at some point.

It makes sense here because there are a lot of tolls in the Mid-Atlantic region and many are avoidable. The Chesapeake Expressway and Pennsylvania Turnpike, for example. It's only when you need to cross water (pretty much any bridge or tunnel) that it often becomes unavoidable.
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sparker

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #53 on: July 10, 2019, 05:16:16 AM »

Around here (Bay area in general) one quickly learns a couple of toll-avoiding idioms:  if humanly possible, plan any trips that require any bay crossings so that you're heading east rather than west (tolls are one-way west over both the S.F. and San Pablo bays and one-way north over the Carquinez Straits or the Delta (i.e., Antioch Bridge).  For a few years I had to make a trip to Sacramento about every three weeks to visit a subcontractor who rebuilt speaker cones for me; as it was more or less an all-day trip there and back, I did the "Nascar" routine: counterclockwise, using the I-580/205/5 (or, alternately CA 99) route up there and I-80/680 back to San Jose (this generally was "contraflow" as well regarding commute traffic except for SB I-680 between Walnut Creek & Dublin).  Complete avoidance of tolled facilities on the way up, and free direction coming back.   
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ET21

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #54 on: July 10, 2019, 09:19:15 AM »

Chicago Skyway
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sandwalk

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #55 on: July 10, 2019, 02:01:03 PM »

Denver's expensive E-470.  It's $22.55 for the whole length (approx. 45 miles).  Even with Express Toll, it's $14.25.
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The Nature Boy

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #56 on: July 11, 2019, 09:45:00 AM »

Most of my friends who travel between Baltimore and the northeast shunpike the Delaware toll.

If I'm going to New England (this only works if your destination is north of New York), I usually shunpike a lot of the NE tolls by going:

I-81 to I-84 and then only paying tolls on the last little bit of the Mass Pike. Very effective. Adds a little bit time though.
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mrsman

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #57 on: July 11, 2019, 09:49:10 AM »

Around here (Bay area in general) one quickly learns a couple of toll-avoiding idioms:  if humanly possible, plan any trips that require any bay crossings so that you're heading east rather than west (tolls are one-way west over both the S.F. and San Pablo bays and one-way north over the Carquinez Straits or the Delta (i.e., Antioch Bridge).  For a few years I had to make a trip to Sacramento about every three weeks to visit a subcontractor who rebuilt speaker cones for me; as it was more or less an all-day trip there and back, I did the "Nascar" routine: counterclockwise, using the I-580/205/5 (or, alternately CA 99) route up there and I-80/680 back to San Jose (this generally was "contraflow" as well regarding commute traffic except for SB I-680 between Walnut Creek & Dublin).  Complete avoidance of tolled facilities on the way up, and free direction coming back.   

One-way tolls generally have that capability, especially if there is a series of tolls to contend with, and especially if you are considering round trips.

To connect NJ with Brooklyn/Queens/Long Island, you pass through two sets of bridges (or Tunnels).   The Port Authority bridges and tunnels connect NJ to Manhattan or Staten Island.  The MTA (or NYCDOT) bridges and tunnels connecting Manhattan or Bronx or Staten Island to Brooklyn/Queens.

The Port Authority Bridges/Tunnels are one-way tolling (eastbound) and all are currently the same price.  (Bridges further north up the Hudson River that are run by different agencies like the Tappan Zee are cheaper, the bridges north of the Tappan Zee are really cheap).  So eastbound you may go out of your way to the Bear Mountain Bridge because it is cheap, but take the more direct PA bridge westbound since it's free.

Within NYC, the 4 East River bridges (Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg, Queensboro) are free - the other crossings are toll and the Verrazano is one-way toll (but at double the cost).  So, if one were making a trip from NJ to LI, going through Staten Island, you will only pay the PA toll.  Going through Manhattan and using an East River bridge, you will only pay the PA toll.  Going through Manhattan and using a different East River crossing, you will pay two tolls, PA and MTA.  Since Manhattan crossings would usually require busy surface streets, the Verrazano crossing eastbound is the preferred route for a lot of travel from NJ to LI.  Going westbound, since the Verrazano toll is twice the other tolls, it is largely avoided.  Taking a different MTA toll crossing (like the Midtown Tunnel or Triboro Bridge) would require paying the MTA toll.  But taking one of the East River bridges would mean that the entire trip from LI to NJ, involving two water crossings but going through the heart of Manhattan, is entirely free, since the PA crossings are free in that direction.  This is well known and many truckers are known to take a Manhattan Bridge-Canal Street-Holland Tunnel routing to avoid the tolls (which are very high for trucks).  The congestion pricing schemes that should be put into effect in 2021 is an effort to avoid this toll avoidance.

------------------

With regards to the Bay Area, another favorite toll avoidance to go from SF to Sac is by taking CA-37, Sears Point Road.  In that direction, the Golden Gate is free, so that is another way to avoid the Carquinez Strait/Delta toll crossings.  It is probably preferred if you are on the west side of the Bay and too far north of the San Mateo Bridge to make the I-580/205/5 routing feasible.

On the Fictional threads, there are some people who complain about the lack of a freeway routing along CA-1 to connect the Golden Gate to San Mateo County.  Going northbound, taking the existing 19th Avenue is the most direct way and is toll free, but you have to contend with multiple traffic signals.  Oddly enough, though, going southbound there is an all-freeway bypass that actually has less toll than the direct routing.  (Of course you do add mileage and possibly time, dependent on traffic.)  From San Rafael, you can take I-580 and cross the upper SF Bay on the Richmond bridge for free and take I-580 to I-880 to CA-92 and cross the Bay again on the San Mateo bridge.  You will pay toll on the San Mateo bridge, but the Bay crossings are always cheaper than the Golden Gate, plus you bypassed San Francisco and its surface streets.

[Normally bridges are so laden with traffic that it makes no sense to cross the same body of water twice.  But it may be feasible in this instance.]

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sprjus4

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #58 on: July 11, 2019, 01:05:53 PM »

Denver's expensive E-470.  It's $22.55 for the whole length (approx. 45 miles).  Even with Express Toll, it's $14.25.
Dang, it’s cheaper to drive the 90-mile TX-130 bypass around Austin that’s 80-85 mph.
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kphoger

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #59 on: July 12, 2019, 03:03:08 PM »

Two from northern Mexico:

The northwestern bypass of Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico
The free bypass had its last stoplight removed back in 2009 or so, and traffic generally flows at around 90 km/h.  (I've only driven it on weekends, and maybe it's more congested on weekdays.)  The toll bypass costs 197 pesos, which is more than 10 dollars.  That's never been worth it to me.  Now consider that the average hourly wage in Mexico is around 10 to 11 times less than that in the USA!

The toll road west of Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico
The free road has no stoplights and only a handful of speed bumps.  The speed bumps are all the easy 25-mph variety, too.  Truck traffic can be heavy, but the highway is arrow-straight and level for the most part:  passing is easy.  The toll road, only 4½ miles shorter, costs 129 pesos, which is almost 7 dollars.  Not worth it.
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TheStranger

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #60 on: July 12, 2019, 03:52:19 PM »

Around here (Bay area in general) one quickly learns a couple of toll-avoiding idioms:  if humanly possible, plan any trips that require any bay crossings so that you're heading east rather than west (tolls are one-way west over both the S.F. and San Pablo bays and one-way north over the Carquinez Straits or the Delta (i.e., Antioch Bridge).  For a few years I had to make a trip to Sacramento about every three weeks to visit a subcontractor who rebuilt speaker cones for me; as it was more or less an all-day trip there and back, I did the "Nascar" routine: counterclockwise, using the I-580/205/5 (or, alternately CA 99) route up there and I-80/680 back to San Jose (this generally was "contraflow" as well regarding commute traffic except for SB I-680 between Walnut Creek & Dublin).  Complete avoidance of tolled facilities on the way up, and free direction coming back.   

In that vein:

When I used to live in the eastern part of Sacramento (2007-2014), I usually bypassed the Oakland area entirely to get to San Jose, by taking some variation of 99-4-5-205-580-84.  Likewise, if I was dropping a friend off in the Atherton area, I would then head out of town via 84-Decoto/238-680-84-580-205-5-4-99.

For some parts of Fremont, using 237 from Milpitas to Mountain View works as a way to avoid the Dumbarton or San Mateo Bridge tolls heading towards San Mateo County.

Quote from: mrsman
On the Fictional threads, there are some people who complain about the lack of a freeway routing along CA-1 to connect the Golden Gate to San Mateo County.  Going northbound, taking the existing 19th Avenue is the most direct way and is toll free, but you have to contend with multiple traffic signals.  Oddly enough, though, going southbound there is an all-freeway bypass that actually has less toll than the direct routing.  (Of course you do add mileage and possibly time, dependent on traffic.)  From San Rafael, you can take I-580 and cross the upper SF Bay on the Richmond bridge for free and take I-580 to I-880 to CA-92 and cross the Bay again on the San Mateo bridge.  You will pay toll on the San Mateo bridge, but the Bay crossings are always cheaper than the Golden Gate, plus you bypassed San Francisco and its surface streets.

I've done that before to get from Marin County to Menlo Park (580, 880, then 84 west).  Any all-freeway routing from Marin to the Peninsula using 580 only works though if the MacArthur Maze and Eastshore Freeway aren't congested.

For that matter, the toll difference between the Golden Gate and the Bay crossings is only $1 or so (usually).
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Chris Sampang

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #61 on: July 14, 2019, 04:16:37 PM »

US-1 Toll bridge in Trenton NJ. Cars can detour up to Calhoun street easily and back down PA32 to meet US1, if you don't mind burning up a clutch merging onto US1 south.
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mrsman

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #62 on: July 14, 2019, 05:45:10 PM »

US-1 Toll bridge in Trenton NJ. Cars can detour up to Calhoun street easily and back down PA32 to meet US1, if you don't mind burning up a clutch merging onto US1 south.
Another option for that bridge is the Trenton makes bridge.  When using that routing I don't turn left on pa-32, instead I continue straight and I eventually join in with us 1.

For a while this was my main routing between New York City and DC.  Eventually I gave in to time constraints and avoid the entire Philly area by taking i-295.  I now have to pay at the Delaware memorial bridge, but the toll is worth its to avoid Philly traffic.

Nexus 5X

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OracleUsr

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #63 on: July 15, 2019, 12:26:59 AM »

I used to shunpike the I-95 Delaware toll plaza all the time.  Tried that at the Tydings Bridge, but, well, that's hard to do.
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OracleUsr

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #64 on: July 15, 2019, 12:29:52 AM »

Most of my friends who travel between Baltimore and the northeast shunpike the Delaware toll.

If I'm going to New England (this only works if your destination is north of New York), I usually shunpike a lot of the NE tolls by going:

I-81 to I-84 and then only paying tolls on the last little bit of the Mass Pike. Very effective. Adds a little bit time though.

My parents and I used to do that going to Maine.  The ride through the Poconos and the Delaware Valley alone makes it worth it.  And it's ANOTHER tri-state area that doesn't have as much traffic.
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PHLBOS

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #65 on: July 15, 2019, 11:00:44 AM »

Eventually I gave in to time constraints and avoid the entire Philly area by taking i-295.  I now have to pay at the Delaware memorial bridge, but the toll is worth its to avoid Philly traffic.
I-295 has its own traffic issues as well; mainly at the I-76/NJ 42 interchange, which has been exacerbated by the reconstruction/reconfiguration project that's been going on for a few years (it'll be nice when it's completed).  I've seen southbound traffic back up as far north as the NJ 73 interchange (about 10 miles away) at times.

The other traffic hotspot is where I-295 & the NJ Turnpike (plus US 40) come together just prior to the Delaware Memorial Bridge.  If one hits that area at the wrong time; there will be traffic back-ups along both roads (I-295 & the Turnpike).
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sprjus4

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #66 on: July 16, 2019, 10:34:41 AM »

Tried out the US-50, US-301, DE-1 routing on Sunday, and had no issues.

Was able to maintain 70 - 75 mph on US-50 out to the Bay Bridge, and 40-55 mph over the bridge, then back up to 70 - 75 mph up US-301.

It was not packed, but enough traffic that I was able to get with a "group" of traffic the entire way and maintain that 70 - 75 mph without standing out per se. I can say first hand -nobody- obeyed the 55 mph speed limit on the entire drive, and even at 70 - 75 mph, was still passed by traffic doing 75 - 85 mph.

US-301 through Maryland is a very high-quality roadway, has a large median, limited-access, and has an interstate cross section. The 55 mph speed limit is absurdly slow. Like said above, easily able to maintain 70 - 75 mph without any issues, sharp curves, blind intersections, etc.

Overall, the US-50 / US-301 overlap could be 60 mph, then US-301 north of there could be 65 mph or even 70 mph.

At the state line, they had a lane closed and a 45 mph speed limit and what looked like repaving operations, but once in Delaware, it opened back up straight onto the new US-301 toll road, back up to 65 mph and onto DE-1. The $4 toll wasn't an issue for a one-time trip. Probably worth it rather than taking back roads and through Middletown to DE-1. My only concern with the toll road is that you are charged $4 for crossing the state line, but if you choose to get off and stop at a restaurant, store, gas station, etc, you are charged an additional $1 for re-entering, but if you don't stop at all, you don't get double-charged. There needs to be a way that once you pay the $4, you aren't charged again. I had wanted to stop in Middletown for gas, but I did not because I did not want to be double-charged.

In Maryland, there were two signs 11 miles and 7 miles in advanced warning about the toll road in Delaware. No signage directing how to avoid it though, no "last exit before toll" signage, simply indicating there was a toll road ahead.

IMO, US-50 / US-301 was better than I-95 because it avoided Baltimore, it saved $8, and it avoided what looked like a lot of reported congestion on I-95 north of Baltimore. Crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was also a nice bonus.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2019, 10:40:03 AM by sprjus4 »
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WillWeaverRVA

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #67 on: July 16, 2019, 11:07:34 AM »

I also regularly shunpiked the Chesapeake Expressway, but my trips to the Outer Banks were rare and done in off-peak hours so traffic was minimal.
I've always shunpiked the Expressway, except once I used it a few years back simply to try it out since I've never used it - and it's a nice highway but only 55 mph and not much faster than Business VA-168 during off-peak hours. I've also ended up using it during peak hours simply to not deal with any traffic and for a one time trip, I have no issues paying the $3.

During peak weekends in the summer, I would never pay the $8 toll it is now.

When you lived in the area, you mentioned around 2007, the toll was only $2 all times, including peak weekends. It's now $3 regular, and $8 during weekends in the summer.

Yeah, thanks to that $8 toll I always avoid the Expressway when traveling to the OBX during the summer. VA 168 Business has a 45-mph speed limit and typically doesn't have a whole lot of traffic (though traffic occasionally backs up at the stoplight at the end of the expressway), so it's worth it to me.
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StogieGuy7

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #68 on: July 16, 2019, 01:34:15 PM »

Driving to the east this weekend from SE WI and will be taking I-94 through MI (and then crossing S. ON) to avoid the horrible Indiana Toll Road.  Avoiding the OH Turnpike is an extra plus.  The Indiana Toll Road is constantly under construction; a construction project that often narrows I-80/90 (the main east-west route across the USA) to one freakin' lane in each direction.  Summer traffic can be epic, even sitting in the middle of nowhere.  Indiana absolutely sucks with thoughtlessly designed construction to begin with, but this one has been the worst.  So, this one has nothing to do with the cost of the tolls, it has to do with condition of the road.  And the IN Toll Road will be avoided both ways on this trip. 
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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #69 on: July 18, 2019, 10:12:17 PM »

Driving to the east this weekend from SE WI and will be taking I-94 through MI (and then crossing S. ON) to avoid the horrible Indiana Toll Road.  Avoiding the OH Turnpike is an extra plus.  The Indiana Toll Road is constantly under construction; a construction project that often narrows I-80/90 (the main east-west route across the USA) to one freakin' lane in each direction.  Summer traffic can be epic, even sitting in the middle of nowhere.  Indiana absolutely sucks with thoughtlessly designed construction to begin with, but this one has been the worst.  So, this one has nothing to do with the cost of the tolls, it has to do with condition of the road.  And the IN Toll Road will be avoided both ways on this trip.
I-94 isn't much better.
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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #70 on: July 19, 2019, 01:43:05 PM »

US-1 Toll bridge in Trenton NJ. Cars can detour up to Calhoun street easily and back down PA32 to meet US1, if you don't mind burning up a clutch merging onto US1 south.

Another option for that bridge is the Trenton makes bridge.  When using that routing I don't turn left on pa-32, instead I continue straight and I eventually join in with us 1.

these are the same bridge. edit: i am the dumb.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2019, 03:36:10 PM by odditude »
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Revive 755

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #71 on: July 20, 2019, 12:22:36 PM »

Driving to the east this weekend from SE WI and will be taking I-94 through MI (and then crossing S. ON) to avoid the horrible Indiana Toll Road.  Avoiding the OH Turnpike is an extra plus.

It's that easy to get through both Canadian and US Customs right now?  I think I would take a few two lane non-freeway segments or a stoplight-infested four lane route through Indiana over going through Canada.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #72 on: July 20, 2019, 12:38:53 PM »

US-1 Toll bridge in Trenton NJ. Cars can detour up to Calhoun street easily and back down PA32 to meet US1, if you don't mind burning up a clutch merging onto US1 south.

Another option for that bridge is the Trenton makes bridge.  When using that routing I don't turn left on pa-32, instead I continue straight and I eventually join in with us 1.

these are the same bridge.

Steve referred to the Calhoun Street Bridge; Mrsman referred to the Trenton Makes Bridge.  The Trenton Makes Bridge directly parallel and next to US 1, and then there's the Calhoun Street Bridge about a 1 mile north of Trenton Makes.  From NJ 29 or US 1, you can get to either bridge, then turn left and take PA 32 to US 1, or continue straight off the bridge and access US 1 further down the road.
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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #73 on: July 20, 2019, 03:39:54 PM »

US-1 Toll bridge in Trenton NJ. Cars can detour up to Calhoun street easily and back down PA32 to meet US1, if you don't mind burning up a clutch merging onto US1 south.

Another option for that bridge is the Trenton makes bridge.  When using that routing I don't turn left on pa-32, instead I continue straight and I eventually join in with us 1.

these are the same bridge.

Steve referred to the Calhoun Street Bridge; Mrsman referred to the Trenton Makes Bridge.  The Trenton Makes Bridge directly parallel and next to US 1, and then there's the Calhoun Street Bridge about a 1 mile north of Trenton Makes.  From NJ 29 or US 1, you can get to either bridge, then turn left and take PA 32 to US 1, or continue straight off the bridge and access US 1 further down the road.

yeah, had a stupid moment there. apologies.

it's extra embarrassing since i used to drive past there every day on 29 - my brain just melded the two and I was misremembering the "Trenton Makes" as being on the Calhoun St. bridge (and completely forgetting about the bridge it's actually on).
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Re: Toll Roads worth avoiding?
« Reply #74 on: July 20, 2019, 05:53:33 PM »

Driving to the east this weekend from SE WI and will be taking I-94 through MI (and then crossing S. ON) to avoid the horrible Indiana Toll Road.  Avoiding the OH Turnpike is an extra plus.

It's that easy to get through both Canadian and US Customs right now?  I think I would take a few two lane non-freeway segments or a stoplight-infested four lane route through Indiana over going through Canada.

We waited less than ten minutes at US Customs at the Peace Bridge last month. Northbound a few days earlier we waited about 15 minutes at the Thousand Islands Bridge because there weren’t enough lanes open. In both instances, we were at the Customs booth for less than two minutes.
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