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  1. Default Need advice on routing around chicago construction

    I am driving north on friday around 5pm on I 57. I am worried i will caught in traffic for hours. My final destination is Grand Rapids. Does anyone have a way around the eternal mess around Chicago ?? I will be coming from St, Louis.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Avoid It Altogether

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I am also not a big fan of having to negotiate big cities while on an otherwise pleasurable RoadTrip, and so tend to look for routes that thread there way in between the worst urban traffic nightmare or swing well around them. I have often found to my joy that taking what seems like a long detour often adds but little to the driving time and makes the time I am in the car far more enjoyable. In the case of a drive from St. Louis to Grand Rapids, you can avoid the Chicago metropolitan area almost entirely for an extra 40 miles or so. Instead of taking I-55 to Chicago, I-80/I-90 through Gary and I-94/I-196 up to Grand Rapids, Start out on I-70 to Effingham, IL, head up I-57 to Gilman and take US-24 east to US-421 north at Reynolds, IN. This will eventually hook into I-94 just south of Michigan City, and from there I-94/I-196 will take you to Grand Rapids

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    I agree with Buck that trying to Avoid Chicago altogether is probably your best bet - especially on a Friday afternoon.

    One other alternative if you want to spend a little more time on the Freeway would be to take I-57 up a bit farther north to about Bourbonnais, then work across to I-65 (via IL-17/IL-114/IN-10) and then head north to I-94 at Gary. There's still a chance you'd see some traffic in Northwest Indiana, but it should be much better than trying to push across I-80 through South Chicago on a Friday. However, Buck's route would almost guarentee you won't see any traffic, so you'll have to weigh your preferred types of road with your risk of hitting traffic.

  4. Default Thanks for the Help

    I was planning on taking 117 out of Kankakee and 114 and 10 to I 65 north then I 94 east to Kalamazoo and so on.
    But, you think that highway 24 is faster?? I always take I 70 to I 57 at Effingham. So , i don't know how I 55 got put in there ?? HHmmm
    Is 421 a country road?? I am not sure i could drive a hundred miles on a country road.
    Last edited by t_bell40; 05-18-2010 at 10:01 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default US Highway

    421 is US-421, a US Highway that should be of higher quality than a county road. It will, however, be mostly 2 lanes and will spend some time going through towns.

    The only way that route will be faster is if you hit traffic on I-65/I-94. But n a Friday afternoon, I would expect to see some slow downs, and there's just no way of knowing how bad things will be like when you are traveling through. Basically, if you'd like to virtually eliminate the risk that you'll be stuck in traffic going nowhere for long stretches of time, then US-421 would be a great choice, just know that it will likely take a little more time than if you hit clear traffic on the freeway.

  6. #6

    Default

    t_bell's question brings up a question of my own for my trip in August regarding this very thing so I didn't make an alternate thread. How would you suggest going around Chicago heading east bound instead of using I-80? I'll be crossing Chicago on a Thursday afternoon.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    It depends upon your starting and ending points. If you are doing a straight shot across the country on I-80, there really is no good way to avoid it, and you really just need to plan for the possibilities of delays. The nice thing is that I-80 stays quite away from Downtown Chicago, so not the worst place for traffic - but the fact that I-80/94 and I-90 are really the only two freeways to get around Lake Michigan means that they see heavy traffic and there can be some significant bottlenecks.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    If you are coming from way west and are going all the way back to the east coast, take I-74 from the Quad Cities to Indy and then I-70 east. Saves you some tolls too.

  9. #9

    Default

    I would have to get to Toledo, OH from Iowa.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    I think you're pretty much stuck.

    You could try to go south and then find some 2 lane highways to cut across, but pretty much any option I come up with is going to add well over an hour of extra driving.

    I will say that I travel this section of I-80 fairly regularly, and while I accept there will be some never-ending construction, and at times some significant traffic delays, I don't think you need to look at taking huge detours to avoid it. The best bet is to try to avoid hitting the area during rush hour, and make sure you have an I-Pass (or EZ-Pass) so you don't get stuck up at one of the toll booths.

    I will add that I once tried using US-30 when there was some really bad construction at the state line a couple years ago - that was a nightmare and I would never try doing that again.

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