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Author Topic: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?  (Read 1388 times)

qguy

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Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« on: September 22, 2019, 02:17:03 PM »

I'll be driving my family (my wife and I, one young adult, one older teen) from east central Pennsylvania to Louisville, Kentucky for Thanksgiving. Outbound the day prior, returning the Saturday after. I'll be taking the PA Turnpike, I-70, and I-71 one way, and I-64, I-79, I-68 the other way. Haven't decided which routing will be outbound and which will be returning.

Looking for road-related advice. Anything to watch out for, be aware of, avoid, be sure to see along the way, or any other roadway-related thing of note?
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hbelkins

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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2019, 04:16:34 PM »

There's been some major construction on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River, but I don't know if there will be any lane closures still in effect in late November or not.

One of the Columbus experts here would know whether you'd be better off staying on I-70 into downtown, or bypassing around on I-270.

Weather can always be a factor that time of year along I-68, especially on the Maryland side of the state line.

I've driven the southern route many times and am much more familiar with it than the northern route, but even at that, the southern route is much more scenic.

I can't remember the westernmost Sheetz along the northern route, possibly at Cambridge, but you will start hitting them again pretty much as soon as you cross back into West Virginia. The closest one is at US 52 and US 60 and it's kind of a pain to get to and from on I-64, but the Exit 20 (Mall Road) and Exit 28 (Milton) locations are much more accessible from the interstate.

Don't buy gas in Jefferson County. If you can stretch your tank to the truck stops at the KY 153 exit on I-71, do so. And be sure to fill up at Grayson on I-64 on your return trip. Gas there will be significantly cheaper than along the route in West Virginia.
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Henry

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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2019, 10:01:41 AM »

Considering that you currently live east of Harrisburg, I'd assume you'd start out on US 422 and take it west to US 322, then continue along PA 581 and US 11 to I-81 south. Which means that even with the southern route, you'd still be on I-70 in some form, between Hagerstown and Hancock (the eastern terminus of I-68).

If you want to shunpike, then I-81-I-70-I-68-I-79-I-64 would be your best bet. And I'd suggest taking I-470 through Wheeling and I-270 around Columbus, if you end up on the Turnpike-I-70-I-71 route. Plus, I-71 through Cincinnati and across the Brent Spence Bridge can be quite a pain, so you should probably consider taking I-275 on the eastern side.

But whatever routing you decide to take, I'd be good with either one.
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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2019, 10:19:59 AM »


One of the Columbus experts here would know whether you'd be better off staying on I-70 into downtown, or bypassing around on I-270.

Definitely use 270 around the SE side of Columbus, no matter which way you are going.

If you are coming through Cincinnati area on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I would strongly suggest looking at I-275 around to the east - but check Google traffic for real-time updates as there is construction on 275.   But 71/75 inside the 275 loop is often horrendous on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, even when there is no construction.
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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2019, 01:35:22 PM »

I know that you already have your route set, but for another option (if you haven't ever traveled it), I would try taking Ohio 32 out of Cincinnati from I-275 and traveling through the scenic, hilly portion of southern Ohio.  You can take it all the way to near Parkersburg and go on US 50 through West Virginia to I-79 at Clarksburg.  Ohio 32 is limited access (except for the first few miles around Cincinnati) and is a fairly pleasant drive.  We used to drive from Evansville IN to the Cumberland MD/Petersburg WV area on a yearly basis, and not to long ago I told my wife we would go this way, and she thought I was crazy, but afterward, she was glad we took the road.

Oh, if you do go back on I-64 and you're a big root beer fan, take exit 11 (WV 10) and go north a couple of miles and you will run into Frostop.  My personal favorite of root beer, and there are only a handful of those drive-ins left, but one of they is in Huntington, WV.
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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2019, 11:42:21 PM »

One of the Columbus experts here would know whether you'd be better off staying on I-70 into downtown, or bypassing around on I-270.

Right now, I-71 is being widen and rebuilt from I-70, south past I-270 south. So, there is no magic path to get around that as of now. (Ask again around Veterans Day)
Unless you are looking to gain counties, or mileage for 'Travel Mapping,' taking I-275 around Cincy will cost you time. Continue into Cincinnati and take I-471 to I-275 instead.
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qguy

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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2019, 06:07:51 AM »

These are just the sort of things I was looking for. I haven't driven in the Louisville area since circa 1990 and I've never driven there from Pennsylvania. Thanks all!
« Last Edit: September 25, 2019, 06:10:06 AM by qguy »
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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2019, 08:30:04 AM »

There is a new bridge east of Louisville connecting the Gene Snyder freeway near Prospect to IN 265 and IN 62 near Utica.  Worth checking out.  There's also a new bridge that serves as a second span of the Ohio River for I-65.
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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2019, 12:15:56 PM »

I had a good 7 year run making an annual trip from Pittsburgh to Louisville for Lebowskifest - but it's already been 10 years ago since the last time.  We always took I-270 from I-70 -> I-71 @ Columbus.  We also stuck with I-71 thru Cincy, but it was close to midnight most of the time, so traffic was light that point.

There are some construction projects to rebuild some segments of I-70 from New Stanton going on now, but that road isn't that great anyway, and a trip as long as the one you're taking is going to have construction on it somewhere (and if you haven't rode/driven that stretch, you deserve to treat yoself to that "experience")

Other than that, I have nothing to add.
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hbelkins

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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2019, 02:31:21 PM »

If you do use the Louisville bridges, if you have a Pennsylvania E-ZPass, it will work. You'll get the discounted rate vs. toll-by-plate.
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hbelkins

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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2019, 12:52:00 PM »

A couple of additional points (and thanks for the private message on Facebook yesterday).

You say you haven't decided which way you'll be going west and which way you'll be returning. Wait as late as possible to decide that, and definitely check the weather forecasts (remembering what I said about weather possibly being a factor on I-68). If you're guaranteed a nice day on the trip west, take I-68 then, so there won't be any problems if it turns bad for your return trip home.

After seeing one of the suggestions made above about an alternate route, I came up with two alternatives that are both much more scenic than following I-70 and I-71.

Coming west, follow I-68 to Morgantown, but take I-79 only as far as Clarksburg. Then pick up US 50 (Corridor D) and OH 32 through Parkersburg to Cincinnati. There isn't a lot between I-79 and I-77, but it's a rural area and lightly-traveled, with a 65 mph speed limit. You'll get to see the new Blennerhassett Bridge crossing the Ohio River. Services will be spotty through Ohio but you'll find gas, food, etc., often enough. Once to Cincinnati, take I-275 into Kentucky to link up with I-71.

On the return trip, I-64 to I-77 to I-79, but exit at Exit 99 for Weston and take Corridor H (US 48) over to I-81. You will still find two two-lane segments, from Kerens to Davis/Thomas, and Wardensville into Virginia and I-81, but it's a pretty drive, and honestly, I don't find those two-lane portions to be all that bad. To me, the worst part is the end of the four-lane at Kerens to Parsons. Services will be sparse beyond Buckhannon. Most everything at Elkins is on the other side of town. Parsons has a McDonald's, but the Sheetz there closed last year. There's a Sheetz right off US 48 at Moorefield. Wardensville is a 25 mph speed trap. This route puts you on I-81 at Strasburg, just south of I-66.

If I was traveling to that area, I would choose either of these alternatives over going through Columbus on I-70 and I-71.
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milbfan

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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2019, 04:06:54 PM »

Don't buy gas in Jefferson County. If you can stretch your tank to the truck stops at the KY 153 exit on I-71, do so. And be sure to fill up at Grayson on I-64 on your return trip. Gas there will be significantly cheaper than along the route in West Virginia.

Good points.  Carrollton or La Grange would be good, traveling on 71.  Shelbyville would be my first stop to get gas, if I needed it, coming out of Louisville.  I travel that quite a bit coming from SW Va.  Any reason why gas prices suck so bad in Louisville Metro?
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hbelkins

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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2019, 06:29:37 PM »

Don't buy gas in Jefferson County. If you can stretch your tank to the truck stops at the KY 153 exit on I-71, do so. And be sure to fill up at Grayson on I-64 on your return trip. Gas there will be significantly cheaper than along the route in West Virginia.

Good points.  Carrollton or La Grange would be good, traveling on 71.  Shelbyville would be my first stop to get gas, if I needed it, coming out of Louisville.  I travel that quite a bit coming from SW Va.  Any reason why gas prices suck so bad in Louisville Metro?

Reformulated gas for air quality purposes. I think Oldham County is included in the RFG requirement, as is Bullitt County north of the Salt River. Prices in Shepherdsville are comparable to those in Louisville.

However, gas just across the Ohio River at a Thornton's just off I-65 usually run quite a bit less than in Jefferson County.
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qguy

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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2019, 03:08:02 PM »

Oh, if you do go back on I-64 and you're a big root beer fan, take exit 11 (WV 10) and go north a couple of miles and you will run into Frostop.  My personal favorite of root beer, and there are only a handful of those drive-ins left, but one of they is in Huntington, WV.

Is this place open this late in the year?
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qguy

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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2019, 03:15:20 PM »

Oh, if you do go back on I-64 and you're a big root beer fan, take exit 11 (WV 10) and go north a couple of miles and you will run into Frostop.  My personal favorite of root beer, and there are only a handful of those drive-ins left, but one of they is in Huntington, WV.
Is this place open this late in the year?

I simply called and answered my own question. They are open every day the week of Thanksgiving except Thanksgiving day itself.
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qguy

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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2019, 04:34:43 PM »

We've decided to to take the southern route (PA Turnpike, I-68, I-79, I-64) out and the northern route (I-71, I-70, PA Turnpike) back. On the way out we'll stop at Frostop and gas up in eastern Kentucky.

Any last minute suggestions?
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hbelkins

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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2019, 07:39:46 PM »

We've decided to to take the southern route (PA Turnpike, I-68, I-79, I-64) out and the northern route (I-71, I-70, PA Turnpike) back. On the way out we'll stop at Frostop and gas up in eastern Kentucky.

Any last minute suggestions?

I think I mentioned this before, either here or in private communications, but use GasBuddy if you have it to check gas prices in West Virginia. Your gas options between Cumberland and Morgantown are going to be limited, and I'm really not sure if there are any Sheetz locations within reasonable driving distance off I-68 near Frostburg. There's a Sheetz not far off I-68 on the east side of Cumberland, and a new truck stop (Love's, I think) at the US 220 north exit. With luck, a fill-up somewhere along I-68 in Maryland will get you into Kentucky. There's a Sheetz not far from I-68 at the WV 7 exit, and a handful of them between Morgantown and Weston. Weston is the last Sheetz you'll encounter until you get on the I-64 corridor west of Charleston. There are gas options at Flatwoods, but really nothing else until you get nearly to Charleston on I-79.

Once you get into Kentucky, the Speedway and Love's at Grayson (the KY 1/KY 7/KY 9 exit) are usually close to each other in price, and usually cheaper than anything else until you get to Lexington.

If you find yourself needing to top off, do so at Waddy or Simpsonville, before you get into Jefferson County.

I'm not really sure of the options along I-71 between Louisville and Cincinnati on your return trip other than a couple of truck stops at the KY 146/KY 153 exit.  The metro Cincy area will likely be more expensive than those truck stops.
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Hot Rod Hootenanny

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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2019, 11:26:15 PM »

We've decided to to take the southern route (PA Turnpike, I-68, I-79, I-64) out and the northern route (I-71, I-70, PA Turnpike) back. On the way out we'll stop at Frostop and gas up in eastern Kentucky.

Any last minute suggestions?

When you get to Columbus, take 270 E/N from 71 NB to 70 EB.
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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2019, 02:05:03 PM »

We've decided to to take the southern route (PA Turnpike, I-68, I-79, I-64) out and the northern route (I-71, I-70, PA Turnpike) back. On the way out we'll stop at Frostop and gas up in eastern Kentucky.

Any last minute suggestions?

I think I mentioned this before, either here or in private communications, but use GasBuddy if you have it to check gas prices in West Virginia. Your gas options between Cumberland and Morgantown are going to be limited, and I'm really not sure if there are any Sheetz locations within reasonable driving distance off I-68 near Frostburg. There's a Sheetz not far off I-68 on the east side of Cumberland, and a new truck stop (Love's, I think) at the US 220 north exit. With luck, a fill-up somewhere along I-68 in Maryland will get you into Kentucky.

There is a Sheetz at Frostburg about 1.5 miles north of I-68 on MD 36. There's also one next to I-68 at LaVale, but the Pilot truck stop at I-68 Exit #22 (US 219 North/Meyersdale) is generally the best choice for gas between Morgantown and Cumberland.
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qguy

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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2019, 02:15:54 PM »

Thanks all! As I mentioned up-thread, these are just sort of things I was looking for. I knew my fellow loony road geeks (speaking as one of) would have an ample supply! :thumbsup:
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qguy

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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2019, 02:58:32 PM »

OK, we drove out via the southern route and back via the northern. Thanks for all the info. Between you all and Gas Buddy, I knew where to eat and where to plan for inexpensive gas.

BTW, on the way out, we ate at Frostop. Definitely a good recommendation!
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Life in Paradise

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Re: Travelling from PA to Louisville, KY: Any roadway advice?
« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2019, 04:05:35 PM »

OK, we drove out via the southern route and back via the northern. Thanks for all the info. Between you all and Gas Buddy, I knew where to eat and where to plan for inexpensive gas.

BTW, on the way out, we ate at Frostop. Definitely a good recommendation!
Glad we could help!
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