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NE to Outer Banks driving questions
July 3, 2014 3:05 PM   Subscribe

Going to Nag's Head for a little family R&R. I haven't driven down there in 8 years and looking for some advice. Leaving from SE Mass area at 10PM on Friday and hope to get in around noon on Saturday. Taking 95 south through CT, 1st decision: GW or Tappan Zee? We will be hitting them around 1AM. After that the question is: I95 all the way around DC, or Rt 13 South through DE & MD? Has anyone made the trip lately or know of any major construction projects going on that would cause big delays? Normally I go the Rt13 but is there a problem with one of the bridges in DE? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
posted by mikedelic to Travel & Transportation around Nags Head, NC (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Are you accounting for Hurricane Arthur in your plans/travels? It's due to hit...just about that area tonight/tomorrow but depending how bad that could very adversely affect the roads/bridges in the area.
posted by Captain_Science at 3:13 PM on July 3 [5 favorites]


I just did this drive (VT to Outer Banks). It was loooong. 15 hours. Our driving schedule was different from yours: we left early am and arrived in NC in the evening.

Our rule was to avoid 95 at all costs, and I'd say that was a good call. That meant swinging west a bit, but I think it paid off, simply because we got to avoid NJ at the beginning of Construction Season.

Here's our approximate route.


The shittiest part was driving through Delaware on a stoplighted road, not a highway. On the way home, we chose to take 95 through DC and Baltimore because DE slowed us down so much. That was a good call, too.

Your results may vary because of the time of travel.
posted by Dr. Wu at 3:17 PM on July 3


Like captain_science said, do an eye on the hurricane because OBX is going to get a direct hit tonight. It will definitely impact road, bridge and ferry access. Depending on the damage they may only allow owners back in the first wave.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:22 PM on July 3


Tappanzee, 100:1, especially southbound. Cross over just after New Haven to the Merrit turnpike (15), and aim for White plains from there.

Take the 495 beltway around DC.
posted by Dashy at 3:36 PM on July 3


At 1:00am, I would take the George. Normally, I would cut east and go through Delaware, but again, early morning on 95 should be fine. Just drove NY to Richmond leaving at 3:00am on a Saturday and it was fine.
posted by 724A at 6:54 PM on July 3


Take whichever way Google Maps says would be fastest. There's only a very small chance that you'll encounter any kind of congestion on I-95 or the George Washington Bridge at that time of night, but stay tuned to the local news/traffic stations (WCBS 880 and 1010 WINS) as you're heading through the NYC area. The Tappan Zee does take you a little out of your way, so I'd avoid it if possible. Worst-case scenario, you can bypass the Cross-Bronx and Tappan Zee using the Whitestone Bridge to I-278 (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway) to the Verrazano to the Outerbridge Crossing to the NJ Turnpike, except that you'll get stuck paying for two bridges that way. You wouldn't pay heading outbound on the GWB.

What bridges in Delaware were you thinking of? I don't think there are any issues with the Delaware Memorial Bridge, and I don't know what other bridges in Delaware could be an issue. Taking the western route through DC instead of going through Delaware is probably going to cost you an extra hour, and is probably not necessary given the time of night.
posted by Leatherstocking at 7:39 PM on July 3


The delaware bridge problem you may be thinking of is on 495 around wilmongton, its closed for the time being, have to take 95 through the city. Google maps has it listed as closed though and should route around.

Last i heard hatteras had mandatory evacuations due to the hurricane, check with your destination before you go too far.
posted by TheAdamist at 10:02 PM on July 3


They've been shutting down multiple lanes of I-95 south of DC in VA for construction all night every night. I would assume that is suspended for the holiday weekend, but check to make sure. I've had several 2+ hour trips to get home from DC late at night recently because of the construction.
posted by COD at 10:07 PM on July 3


I used to drive frequently from SE Mass to Va Beach. First thing: If you leave at 10 PM, you will be approaching NYC at something like 1 AM. At that hour, the GWB can sometimes be pretty much free and clear. What I normally do before the decision time (when I am passing through Bridgeport) is tune into 1010 WINS to get the traffic report. If the GWB is clear, then I take the GWB. It saves a lot of time--much more direct connection to the NJ turnpike. If it isn't clear then I take the exit for the Tappan Zee. Second thing: I always avoided DC area traffic at all costs and I felt liberated when I was able to get off the Turnpike and 95, and get on route 13. And I always enjoyed going over the Bay Bridge/Tunnel. Yes, 13 has stoplights, but 95 is much less direct/more mileage and probably more construction delays.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 6:28 AM on July 4


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