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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    6,936

    Default Please, take me off the beaten path.

    It was the (supposedly) helpful guy at the motel who suggested my route from Rockford IL, onto I-80 in IN..... I-90 >> 294 >> I-80.

    Result was that it took me just on four hours to travel little more than 100 miles, despite starting at 6.30am.

    Since I will be travelling this route at least twice more, could someone who knows the area please suggest a route to bypass Chicago.

    I had originally planned to go down 39 as far as maybe 24, and then take that into IN and pick up 80 somewhere along the way. (I am unable to explain why I allowed myself to be talked out of that.) But there may be a better route.

    Lifey who could not bear to drive through Chicago again

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    9,272

    Default

    Take 39 down to Bloomington/Normal, get on 55 south to 74 east. Take that to Indy and take 465 south around the city, get on 70 east. Take that to Columbus, take 270 north to 71, take that north to 76. Take that east to and through Akron, and join 80 where it comes off the toll road. This is longer, but avoids both Chicago traffic and a lot of tolls.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default well there's your problem

    Despite leaving at 6:30? That would have put you in Chicago right in the heart of the morning rush, I can't think of much of a worse time to leave Rockford!

    Actually, The route you took is the route I typically use around the Chicago area, with just one minor change, I use I-290 near OHare as a shortcut between I-90 and I-294, but that shouldn't change things by more than a few minutes.

    I actually can't think of anytime the trip has ever taken 4 hours for me going that route. If you'd taken I-90 all the way through, it wouldn't surprise me, but I've never seen that big of delays on the Tri-State. Where did you see such big backups? I guess if you didn't have an ipass and had to stop for the toll booths every 5 miles, that would slow you down quite a bit. And there always seems to be some degree of slowdown at the I-80/I-94 junction to the Indiana border.

    How far east are you going? If you are going all the way to say Pittsburgh, then I'd take the route GLC recommended, but to Akron or elsewhere on I-80, that route would add 150 miles, so you're not really going to save any time, even if you hit Chicago traffic again, and the money you'd save on tolls you'd mostly burn up in extra gas. Going down to US-24 seems to pretty much have the same problems, adding 150 miles.

    One other Chicago bypass option would be to take I-90 to I-290 to I-355 joining I-80 near Joliet. This is a pretty new highway, so I haven't taken it yet, and you'd still have potential issues on I-80, but it might be a bit of an improvement.

    Or for your return trip, you could just go up to Muskegan, Michigan and take the high speed ferry across to Milwaukee. I don't think you'll save any time or money, but it could be fun!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Without an I-Pass or EZ-Pass, Chicago area tollways are a hassle no matter what time of day. Off rush hour, they close most of the attended lanes. Not only that, the cash toll rate is double the transponder rate.

    If you have to go near Chicago, the new stretch of I-355 is the best bet. I lived in the Chicago area for 35 years, and I will avoid the area whenever possible, even though I still have my I-Pass.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Thanks guys.... Yes, my friend at the motel was a great help, wasn't he?!?

    I sure do have a transponder, and cannot imagine why the cash booths are still there. Surely they can just remove them, and then the transponders would do the lot. In Melbourne we have never had cash booths.

    And the one good thing I can say about Chicago is that you can just drive under the gantry at 60mph, without this business of having to slow down. I look forward to all the other tolls being collected by overhead gantries, and the traffic flowing non-stop..... just like at home. (Yup, in some ways, starting to miss home already.)

    As for the hold-up through Chicago... well, there was lots and lots of road work, and in one spot the four lanes merged into just one lane. (I think that was just after the exit to Ripley St.) I would have happily driven another 150 (or more) miles, at least I would have been moving... not this frustration of sitting in between 18 wheelers and not knowing what is going on.

    St Paul to Boston in July and Boston to St Paul in October. Think I will take the southern route and go up 39... not sure I would go all the way down to 70, but 24 looks good to me... to just north of Normal, and 39 straight up north on the way to St Paul.

    But, I would really like to know more about that ferry. That sounds great, and I do so love ferries.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Despite leaving at 6:30? That would have put you in Chicago right in the heart of the morning rush'.......
    Michael, that reminds me of a comment a lady made to me.....

    Only in Chicago do they call it 'rush' hour when the traffic is virtually standing still.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default diagonal

    Since its more of a diagnal, I think it would be faster to follow GLC's route through Akron and Indy than to just go down to US-24. The mileage actually ends up being almost identical, and you'd always be at highway speeds by sticking to the interstate route.

    If you've got some extra time and you want to have a real different experience, I'd recommend going above the great lakes, going through Ottawa, and reentering the US in Sault Ste. Marie. I did that as a route a few years ago and really enjoyed it.

    You could also shoot across southern ontario from Niagara Falls to Sarnia/Port Huron, Michigan (which is often the route I take when driving to upstate new york) and actually at that point, you really would be able to take the Lake Express Ferry without any real detour, and that could end up being the fastest option.

    As far as eliminating the cash tolls, they still need to fleece out of state drivers. Toronto is using a totally photo-enforced tollway system, but that's the only one I know of in north america that doesn't have some cash toll system.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    Default

    Yeah, that is a great trip... I did that in 2007 - Niagara Falls > Toronto > Sudbury > Sault Ste Marie. I had actually wondered if that is not a better route. Might try both again, just as a diversion.... anything but drive through Chicago. Been to Chicago three times before - 2001 (twice) and 2004 - so not really missing anything.
    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    As far as eliminating the cash tolls, they still need to fleece out of state drivers. Toronto is using a totally photo-enforced tollway system, but that's the only one I know of in north america that doesn't have some cash toll system.
    In Melbourne (and Sydney), out of town/State drivers have three days to pay their toll, by calling a 13 number - which can be dialled from anywhere in Australia for the cost of a local call. After three days a letter is sent out as a reminder to pay, or pay the $100 fine. No problems with the owner not being the driver ... that is catered for as well. It works like a charm.

    Just like Obama said about the fast trains.... Īt is being done, it is just that it is not being done here!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-08-2009 at 09:22 PM. Reason: extra block quotes are sorta redundant

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    Default

    I've taken US-24, and you cannot make very good time, it's mostly only a 2 lane road with a lot of small towns. The rural speed limit in IL, IN, and OH is only 55. If you go south, go all the way to 70.

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