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  1. Default Bentonville, AR to Columbus, OH trip route question...


    I'm needing to make a drive from Bentonville, AR to Columbus, OH in order to go to graduate school. I'd like to minimize my number of interstate merges and the complexity of those merges since I had an accident on a merge on the Interstate a couple years ago.

    I looked up the route on google maps and on my Garmin Nuvi. It suggests taking Interstate 71 north of Bentonville, then merging onto interstate 44 and going east for a while. It then uses quite a few other interstates with all sorts of different merges - 270, 255, 70, 57, 70, 65, 70, 670.

    I'm a bit worried about merges on interstates I'm not familiar with as well as large city traffic. Does anyone know of a simple, easy route that is for the most part a straight shot from Arkansas to Ohio? I'd like to use interstates most of the way but stick to a small number of them even if it means winding around with a given interstate for a while longer. I also would like to not have any strange merges.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    I'd take US-71 north out of Bentonville (Wal-Mart???) and then catch I-44. Take that to I-70 in St. Louis. Stay on it all the way to Columbus, OH. This is the way I'd suggest, and Google maps sort of agrees with me.

    I-255 would be the belt loop around St Louis, if you need to avoid a lot more traffic or happen to be traveling on a weekday.

    It's 750 miles, depending on where you're going in Columbus. If it were me, I'd take 2 days to drive that -- maybe 400 miles the first day, and 350 the second.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    You really can't avoid Interstate Merges - by their very nature, they are the primary highways going across the country, and by their nature, they are going to intersect, and at times overlap.

    The route you are looking at taking, is basically the same one that Donna recommended, is, at its core about as simple as you can get: I-44 to I-70.

    I-270 and I-255 are routes that you can use to bypass St. Louis, and would likely make for a bit eaiser drive that sticking with I-44 to I-70, especially since you'd have to deal with more interchanges, and downtown St. Louis traffic, but if you'd prefer to use as few highway numbers as possible, you certainly can just use I-44 to I-70 (although even there, I think you technically have to use a brief bit of I-55, and the bridge to go across the Mississippi is shared by I-55, I-70, and I-64).

    The other highways you mentioned are really just sections of highway that share the same pavement for a short stretch. I-70 and I-57 join together for a couple of miles at Effingham, Illinois, and I-70 and I-65 join together for a few miles in Downtown Indianapolis.

    You're going to have that with pretty much any interstate, and there's really no option that would be any better. But ultimately, dealing with interstate interchanges is still going to be a whole lot simpler, easier, and ultimately safer, than using 2 lane roads where you'd be dealing with surface streets, and countless intersections and traffic lights, with many more opportunities to get lost, and many more opportunities to actually have a problem.

    I would also agree with Donna that you'll really be best off planning for an overnight stop.

  4. Default

    I took a look again. As Midwest Michael said, traveling through St Louis isn't really any less complex as far as merging and lanes goes because it uses Interstate 55 and turns onto a bridge. If downtime St Louis traffic is as bad as you say it is, I may want to consider avoiding it. Unfortunately my Garmin Nuvi has a different idea about routes than google maps did - it wants to go through St. Louis for the trip - I may have to set up a via point for it to force it around the city.

    The other question is where to stay the night and where some good rest points are that are easy to get on / off of. What city might be a good one to stay over night in, and what kind of points are easy to get on / off of and find rest points at?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You don't need a GPS to get around STL - just read the road signs!

    Coming in on I-44, you want Exit 276 to I-270/I-255. Stay in the right lane on the exit, there will be a fork, it's the right fork, it will be marked TO MEMPHIS. After the merge, you will need to move left about 3 lanes, just watch the signs and get out of any lanes that say EXIT ONLY. After that, there won't be any exits or merges till you get to Exit 25 in IL, you want I-55/I-70, it's marked TO CHICAGO/INDIANAPOLIS. After the merge, you need to move left 1 or 2 lanes, again watch the signs so you aren't forced off at the next exit. At Exit 20, follow the signs for I-70 EAST - INDIANAPOLIS. Done!

    There are state rest areas along the Interstates all the way, it can't be any easier to get off and on. Generally, all they have are bathrooms and vending machines - plus some tourist information. If you need services (food, fuel, lodging), just watch the signs before each exit that show what services are at the exit.

    Terre Haute looks like a good place to spend the night - to make this a 1.5 day drive. There are several hotels at or near Exit 7 on US-41.

    You won't have any problems if you pay attention to the ROAD SIGNS, don't bury your head in a GPS.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I have to agree with GLC, blindly following your GPS, or driving through a city instead of bypassing it because it says so, is one of the easiest ways to get yourself in trouble.

    A GPS is a good tool, but its just a tool. Paying attention to your surroundings is much more important to having a good, and easy, trip.

    I would avoid getting off in the downtown of a major city, as that can get a little complicated and have limited ramps, but you should have no problem finding exits in smaller cities and suburban areas that are easy on and easy off with plenty of services.

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