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  1. Default What's the best route driving from NYC to Pittsburgh?

    Google Maps says the fastest way is 81 --> 70 --> 76, but that route has a lot of tolls. Any idea how much the tolls are? It says taking US-22 is an extra 18 miles, and does not have tolls, but is the speed limit lower?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Sometimes Computers Miss the 'Obvious'

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Although each computer based mapping program uses slightly different algorithms, they all pretty much find the some excellent US highways that are multi-lane and controlled access with speed limits right up there with the 'big boys'. Such is the case in going from New York to Pittsburgh. If you take the computer recommended route (I-78 to I-81 to the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76/I-70) you will drive 369 miles (downtown to downtown) and be on the road for 5:35 plus stops. If instead, you take I-80 across northern New Jersey and Pennsylvania to just west of State College and then take US-220-A and I-99 down to just south of Altoona and finish up with US-22 and I-376 into Pittsburgh, you'll drive 367 miles, and take 5:50 (again, plus stops). For me there's no comparison between those two routes for scenery and relaxation. I would take the I-80 route every time and actually enjoy my extra 15 minutes on the road. In addition, I'd save the $15.65 in tolls charged by the Pennsylvania Turnpike ($13.27 with E-Z Pass), and have access to lower cost fuel and food to boot.


  3. Default

    Wow, thanks! Do you happen to know any excellent routes for the rest of our trip? From Pittsburgh were are going to Bloomington, IN --> Kansas City --> Las Vegas, NM (don't ask) --> Flagstaff ->> Las Vegas --> LA

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Well may you say Wow!

    Quote Originally Posted by dureel View Post
    Wow, thanks!
    It is that type of meticulous analysis which keeps me on this forum, and helps me build my own knowledge base for roadtripping.

    I am sure AZBuck and others will be able to help you with the rest of your trip, if you give a little more information, such as, how long do you have for this trip? when are you travelling? is it one way? or return? and what are the interests of those travelling?


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default more than dots

    Finding a route between your cities is as simple as looking at a map. For example, I-70 basically connects you from Pittsburgh all the way through Kansas City, while I-40 basically connects your other destinations, and then you just have to pick a route to get south from KC to I-40. There are a couple of reasonable options depending upon where in KC you are starting from.

    But you can find those answers simply by looking at a map. Google or other computer programs can also assist, but having a good map and knowing how to use it is the first step of planning a roadtrip.

    The other aspect is what is this trip about. Is it simply about getting between these cities as fast as possible, or do you want to see and experience things along the way. Your answers will determine which will be the best routes for your trip.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Quote Originally Posted by dureel View Post
    Wow, thanks! Do you happen to know any excellent routes for the rest of our trip? From Pittsburgh were are going to Bloomington, IN --> Kansas City --> Las Vegas, NM (don't ask) --> Flagstaff ->> Las Vegas --> LA
    Michael suggested getting a map, and I agree.... a paper map cannot easily be substituted by any electronic mapping system, or a GPS. Get a good atlas (such as Rand McNally) with a US map in it, or go to AAA (if you're a member) and request a US road map.

    That said -- in Pittsburgh, you COULD catch I-79 South down to I-70, where you head west. Bloomington IN would be a detour down IN-37, but you could head back up to I-70 which takes you to Kansas City.

    In KC, catch I-35 south to Oklahoma City, then I-40 west. Once in OK, you can catch any number of roads that would take you up to Las Vegas, NM.

    These are just suggestions of what to look for on the road map. But once you do, you may find a lot more alluring roads. Bear in mind that Interstates are built for speed and heavy travel, where the "red roads" and "black roads" (US and state highways, respectively on most maps) are usually 2 to 4 lane highways with easy access (which means stop signs or traffic lights going through towns, farm vehicles, and more).


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The quickest no hassle route from NYC to Pittsburgh without paying a lot of tolls is I-80 to I-79. This does add 50 miles to the shortest route via the PA Turnpike.

  8. Default

    I've driven I-80 and the turnpike dozens of times each. Honestly, in my opinion, I-80 across northeastern PA is incredibly boring. Farther west, it's not that exciting either. So, I don't think it has any advantage in terms of being interesting.

    When are you going on the trip? For me, that might be the deciding factor. There can often be snow along 80 when there isn't any farther south. Also, the section of I-99 that was mentioned is a disaster when it snows or is icy. A few years ago, I used to drive it everyday for work, but I ended up quitting the job because there were just so many accidents every time the weather was bad (which was often b/c it goes through a mountainous area). As to Rt 22, it felt really slow when I took it compared to the other routes to Pittsburgh, mostly due to getting stuck behind trucks.

    If you are going in nice weather, I'd probably take the northern route and avoid the tolls, but in winter I might go south depending on the forecast.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    If you found I-80 or any other highway to be boring it's completely your own fault.

    But I've got to say that such a statement seems particularly odd on I-80 through PA, which is really a quite scenic drive that spends much of the trip through Mountains, Hills, and Forests. Especially when factoring only the eastern US, it really ranks quite high among my favorite Interstate sections.

  10. Default

    I agree that some of the towns in the Poconos off of I-80 are nice. The interstate itself, however, is very repetitive - tree-covered hills for hours and hours (meanwhile, the turnpike has more of mix of farmland and forests). Maybe if you are from somewhere where that's unusual scenery it would appeal to you.

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