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Author Topic: DC, Spring 2020  (Read 735 times)

thspfc

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DC, Spring 2020
« on: November 20, 2019, 10:16:23 PM »

Well, my major road trip for 2020 has been set. We're not going west, but instead east, to DC. This is a trip I've dreamed of doing forever (not entirely for the destination itself, but because I would see several states and cities that I haven't before.) It's roughly 13.5 hours (14.5 factoring in the time zones  :bigass:). However, it will most likely take longer than that because of the possibility of heavy traffic in Chicago, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, among other places. So it will probably be a two-day drive each way. Absolutely nothing has been planned yet, but I predict it will look something like this:

- I-39/90 S/E into Illinois, and then the Tri-State around Chicagoland. I would like to go through downtown but it's just too impractical.
- The Indiana Toll Road and Ohio Turnpike. I have low expectations for these roads, but I have a feeling I will still be let down.  :sleep:
- The Fort Pitt Tunnel. Bucket list item for me, even if it adds some drive time.
- Breezewood (yay?)
- I-70 through Maryland and then I-270 into the capital region. I expect bad traffic.

I stand to pick up more new states than I ever have in one trip before.
- Indiana
- Ohio
- Pennsylvania
- Maryland
- Virginia
- Probably West Virginia, though it would require a small detour.

I can't wait for this trip.  :sombrero:
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sprjus4

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Re: DC, Spring 2020
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2019, 12:33:41 AM »

However, it will most likely take longer than that because of the possibility of heavy traffic in Chicago, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, among other places.
If youíre taking the turnpikes, Pittsburgh and Cleveland shouldn't be issues as the turnpikes completely bypass them.

Canít speak much for the Indiana Toll Road having not used it before, but from my knowledge itís all 4-lanes and not in the best of shape.

The Ohio Turnpike is mostly 6-lanes across the state, including the part outside of Cleveland, and a lot nicer than what Iíve heard about Indianaís Toll Road.

IMO, the Ohio Turnpike is more of a relaxed drive, wide open highway, 6-lanes, relatively flat, etc. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is interesting especially from an engineering standpoint, but narrow and mountainous in a lot of areas, and all only 4-lanes. Itís all 70 mph nonetheless though, and tolerable. Iíve personally never had much issues with truck traffic, but who knows.

Despite many roadgeeks despising Breezewood, Iíve never had an issues going through it. Itís a good and convenient place to stop too if timed properly. 
« Last Edit: November 21, 2019, 12:38:37 AM by sprjus4 »
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hbelkins

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Re: DC, Spring 2020
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2019, 10:42:09 AM »

If you want to pick up West Virginia, you can do so without detouring by changing your route up a bit on the way back.

Take I-68 to either WV 43 (the Mon-Fayette Expressway) or I-79 and then head north back into Pennsylvania.

Or if you really want to change things up, take I-66 west out of DC, then US 48 (Corridor H) into West Virginia. Then north on I-79, west on Corridor D (US 50/OH 32) and then find a route to get you back north (US 23, US 35/I-70/I-65, etc.)
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oscar

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Re: DC, Spring 2020
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2019, 11:34:59 AM »

Canít speak much for the Indiana Toll Road having not used it before, but from my knowledge itís all 4-lanes and not in the best of shape.

The Ohio Turnpike is mostly 6-lanes across the state, including the part outside of Cleveland, and a lot nicer than what Iíve heard about Indianaís Toll Road.

Check for construction zones on the Ohio Turnpike (and the ITR too) before you go. Not that they should affect your routing, but they'll affect your travel time estimate. As a frequent traveler on both toll roads, I've seen more lane closures and associated slowdowns on the former than the latter (which reflects that the former gets more maintenance).

My main gripe with the ITR is its service plazas, rather than pavement quality. They're catching up to Ohio's, but still have a way to go.
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1995hoo

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Re: DC, Spring 2020
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2019, 12:03:11 PM »

Contrary to what was stated above, the Pennsylvania Turnpike is not ďall only 4-lanes.Ē Theyíve been widening it. Itís been several years since Iíve used it (other than the Northeast Extension, which you wouldnít be using), but I definitely remember as of our trip to the 2011 NHL Winter Classic most of the part between the Allegheny Mountain Tunnel and New Stanton was six lanes, and widening work was underway west of New Stanton. Street View indicates a good part of that is done.

I like the route described in hbelkinsís second paragraph.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: DC, Spring 2020
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2019, 12:26:36 PM »

However, it will most likely take longer than that because of the possibility of heavy traffic in Chicago, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, among other places.
If youíre taking the turnpikes, Pittsburgh and Cleveland shouldn't be issues as the turnpikes completely bypass them.

Canít speak much for the Indiana Toll Road having not used it before, but from my knowledge itís all 4-lanes and not in the best of shape.

The Ohio Turnpike is mostly 6-lanes across the state, including the part outside of Cleveland, and a lot nicer than what Iíve heard about Indianaís Toll Road.

IMO, the Ohio Turnpike is more of a relaxed drive, wide open highway, 6-lanes, relatively flat, etc. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is interesting especially from an engineering standpoint, but narrow and mountainous in a lot of areas, and all only 4-lanes. Itís all 70 mph nonetheless though, and tolerable. Iíve personally never had much issues with truck traffic, but who knows.

Despite many roadgeeks despising Breezewood, Iíve never had an issues going through it. Itís a good and convenient place to stop too if timed properly. 

Not only is the Pa Turnpike not 4 lanes in numerous areas, but it's not narrow in mountainous areas other than going thru the tunnels. In many areas it's 3 lanes each direction in the mountains.
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1995hoo

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Re: DC, Spring 2020
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2019, 01:53:05 PM »

Another possibility if you donít want to go through Breezewood: Exit the Pennsylvania Turnpike at Somerset and take US-219 south to I-68. Itís about half an hour from Somerset to I-68 on the new highway alignment (older maps wonít show it). Avoids the backup at Breezewood and the annoying 55-mph speed limit south of there (US-219ís new portion is posted at 65 and most of I-68 is posted at 70, with a notable exception through Cumberland).

Of course, if you havenít been through Breezewood, I guess I can understand going that way once for the curiosity value.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
óOlaf 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?"óKolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

thspfc

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Re: DC, Spring 2020
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2019, 06:55:48 PM »

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. Cincinnati is another place that I've always wanted to see, so we may take I-68 to I-79 S to US-50 and/or OH-32 to Cincinnati, and then back north on I-74. That would also allow me to dip into Kentucky and pick up that state. But I don't want to plan too far ahead, since we don't even know what month this is going to happen in yet.
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1995hoo

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Re: DC, Spring 2020
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2019, 09:12:05 PM »

BTWóMaryland uses speed cameras in work zones. State law requires that they give you a 12-mph cushion (e.g., if the speed limit is 65, the camera can't ticket below 77 mph), but be aware of the possibility of speedometer error. I don't chance it on the 12 mph and I keep it lower than that.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
óOlaf 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?"óKolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

Beltway

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Re: DC, Spring 2020
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2019, 12:01:15 AM »

Contrary to what was stated above, the Pennsylvania Turnpike is not ďall only 4-lanes.Ē Theyíve been widening it. Itís been several years since Iíve used it (other than the Northeast Extension, which you wouldnít be using), but I definitely remember as of our trip to the 2011 NHL Winter Classic most of the part between the Allegheny Mountain Tunnel and New Stanton was six lanes, and widening work was underway west of New Stanton. Street View indicates a good part of that is done.
Probably about 100 miles of the Turnpike has been widened to 6 lanes.  Someone should do a tabulation to get the exact mileage.

New Stanton to Ohio -- about 3/4 of the mileage is 6 lanes and the rest in design.
Carlisle westward about 20 miles -- all or most has been 6-laned.
I-83 to I-283 -- all 6 lanes including replaced bridge over Susquehanna River.
Valley Forge to US-1 -- all is 6 lanes.
East-west turnpike to Lansdale -- 6 lanes.

There is about 50 miles in various design phases.
 
« Last Edit: November 22, 2019, 05:43:08 AM by Beltway »
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webny99

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Re: DC, Spring 2020
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2019, 07:53:36 PM »

Interesting. We've had threads with hundreds of posts relating to widening of rural freeways, yet I had no idea that much of the PA Turnpike had been widened.

I'm most surprised by the first two: the Pittsburgh area and west of Carlisle (which seems like a particularly random segment to widen).
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Beltway

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Re: DC, Spring 2020
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2019, 08:18:30 PM »

Interesting. We've had threads with hundreds of posts relating to widening of rural freeways, yet I had no idea that much of the PA Turnpike had been widened.
I wouldn't say "much," because "almost 100 miles" is still a fraction of 470 miles.

Nonetheless, it is a major portion of the busiest sections:  New Stanton - west, Morgantown - east, NE Extension from east-west turnpike northward.

Morgantown to Valley Forge is in various stages of design, and some construction

NE Extension from Lansdale to Quakertown I think is nearing construction start.

So in 8 years or so they may have another 50 miles widened to 6 lanes.

I'm most surprised by the first two: the Pittsburgh area and west of Carlisle (which seems like a particularly random segment to widen).
The turnpike in the Pittsburgh area is a busy enough section that 6 lanes is needed.

The "Carlisle Corridor" is a moderately busy section that I surmise was one of the less complicated sections to widen, so they moved ahead with that.
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1995hoo

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Re: DC, Spring 2020
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2019, 08:54:11 PM »

I was mistaken about the segment west of the Allegheny Mountain Tunnel. For some reason in my mind I see it as widened, but Street View says it isnít. No question that west of New Stanton was absolutely widened, though, and portions much further east were widened years ago. The southernmost part of the Northeast Extension is six lanes and as of last June there was construction underway to push it further north, though I canít say I noticed where exactly. 
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
óOlaf 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?"óKolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

Beltway

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Re: DC, Spring 2020
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2019, 09:17:51 PM »

The southernmost part of the Northeast Extension is six lanes and as of last June there was construction underway to push it further north, though I canít say I noticed where exactly. 
I drove that southbound a few months ago.  I just reviewed my photos...

Complete between MP 31 and MP 20, which is between the east-west turnpike and just north of the Lansdale interchange.

Under construction between MP 38 and MP 31, which is extends the above for 7 miles north.  About halfway complete.
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Re: DC, Spring 2020
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2019, 10:32:41 PM »

I was mistaken about the segment west of the Allegheny Mountain Tunnel. For some reason in my mind I see it as widened, but Street View says it isnít.

I was actually going to dispute that, but after some browsing I did find at least 2 five lane sections (with WB having 3 lanes), so decided I wouldn't bother.  ;-)
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