Legit I-95 Philly-Balto travel advisories sought
August 17, 2007 12:20 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone give specific, reasonable predictions regarding anticipated duration of delay on I-95 (Philly to Balto.) at various times of the weekend this fall?

The short answer is, "it's going to suuucck." I know that part.

However, the back roads could conceivably suck more. I'm having a tough time finding enough information to make educated decisions about how to travel back and forth on Friday and Sunday nights, in particular regarding the mess at the Delaware Tolls. What's the delay been? Is it two hours to get through the tolls every night? The "real time" sites seem to have a lot of "data unavailable" going on. This I-95 site's note of "lane narrowing" doesn't really cover the horrific extent of shutting down the entire highway with traffic forced into one or two lanes each away.

(May be seeking help w/back roads through Delaware, depending on how this thread goes.)
posted by desuetude to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Friday night on I-95 generally sucks big time - avoid if possible.
posted by exogenous at 12:27 PM on August 17, 2007

Not a local!

Google Maps says a straight shot down 95 is about 2 hours presumably on a perfect day; here's an alternate route that involves US 1 that's about half an hour longer but might be less obnoxious a ride if 95 is a parking lot. Half an hour longer than that, but perhaps at higher average speeds because you're way off the beaten path, are this route and this route.
posted by mdonley at 12:47 PM on August 17, 2007

A note of clarification: I am very familiar with the normal beast that is I-95 in this region.

However, a major phase of a construction project was just begun anew in early August. This is causing delays and lane closures that are much more significant than those in recent memory. This is causing new levels of delay on both I-95 and the alternate routes.
posted by desuetude at 1:02 PM on August 17, 2007

At the risk of confirming your fear without offering anything helpful-

my wife and I moved to Delaware (just got here in mid-July), and there seem to be awful delays on I-95 S between Wilmington and Newark at fairly random times. It's not as bad as California traffic (where we came from), but it can still be bad.

It looks like it's not too hard to bypass the Delaware toll, but we've not yet tried getting to I-95 in MD from the other side of the toll plaza.
posted by JMOZ at 1:25 PM on August 17, 2007

Friday nights and sunday nights are the worst. It's taken me almost 4 hours to make the 2 hour DC-Philly trip. That toll just north of the bridge is horrible, I almost always skip it. During those times I haven't, I've tracked the traffic, and sometimes it's backed up 12 miles in either direction. That's 90 minutes of suck, right there.

My favorite route is essentially the one mdonley linked to - I take the Blue Route from the Philly suburbs, hit 95 until Newark, and then hop on 273. I take it to Route 1, over the Conowingo Dam, and down to the B-more beltway. It's almost 100% sure to be faster than 95. For reference, I took this route home on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (hell day on every road), and it took us 2:15 for what is typically a 2:00 trip (and probably would have been 4+ on Thanksgiving). Zero traffic, the whole way.

And Jmoz, it's super-easy to bypass the toll. As above, if I'm going south, I get off at 273W, and take it over to Elkton Rd. (2/279), and get back on 95 just south of the toll. It's like 6 extra miles, but can save you 40 minutes on a bad day.
posted by god hates math at 1:39 PM on August 17, 2007 [2 favorites]

god hates math has it. I used run between Doylestown and Baltimore 3 or 4 times a year. I also did that drive on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but I got lazy and took I-95 and I was on the road twice as long as he was.
posted by Huplescat at 4:14 PM on August 17, 2007

On a related note, is there any interest in a Delaware (and surrounding areas) meetup?
posted by JMOZ at 5:19 PM on August 17, 2007

god hates math- if you're doing that, you ought to be able to get off at 896 instead of 273. Taking 273 through Newark is a bit slow.
posted by JMOZ at 5:20 PM on August 17, 2007

if you're doing that, you ought to be able to get off at 896 instead of 273

Yeah, except 896 is exit 1, and 273 is exit 4. That 3 miles in traffic is a lot longer than it takes me to get through downtown Newark (most of the time). It's a trade I make, anyway.
posted by god hates math at 5:49 PM on August 19, 2007

I have another source telling me to to take Rt 1 to 40 W and rejoin 95 at Rt 272. Thoughts? JMOZ and godhatesmath, I'm looking at you two in particular.
posted by desuetude at 7:19 AM on August 22, 2007

Well, I've only lived in Delaware for a month, but that sounds pretty feasible to me.
posted by JMOZ at 8:03 PM on August 22, 2007

Lessons learned for those following this thread:

If your only issue is skipping the clusterfck of the Dela toll backup, there's a cute little jig you can do to avoid just the toll.

Taking Rt. 40 works fine. 272 is the interchange where 40 and 95 are closest together, but there are other interchanges between the two. It personally drives me a bit crazy to drive past McDonald's after McDonald's at 50 mph, but it only cost me about 15 minutes overall.

I may try godhatemath's Conowingo Dam route on a holiday, but it's significantly longer for me.

Last night, there was an unholy backup where 495 turns back into 95. Taking 13N past the other side of the refineries then hanging a left through Chester back onto 95 = freaking godsend.
posted by desuetude at 10:30 AM on August 27, 2007

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