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  1. Default Would you take or avoid these toll roads?

    I know nothing about these roads. Avoiding all tolls adds about 100 miles but the cost of the tolls will far outstrip the gas cost.

    My only considerations, though, are safety and traffic. I'm not worried about gas, the cost of the tolls, or the extra 1.25-1.5hrs. Please let me know what you think.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default It's Called Shunpiking

    Avoiding tolls is a time-honored American tradition. I used to make a point of leaving my home in Maine and driving to see family in Delaware while avoiding the Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey Turnpikes, and a number of toll bridges. I recall a survey done some number of years ago that asked people how much they would have to save in order to justify an extra hour of driving imposed by avoiding a toll road and the answers averaged out to about $8. I'm sure that's gone up some in the meantime, but what's important is what you'd have to save to make it worthwhile for you. As far as safety goes, there is simply no question, controlled access highways with a median divider are much safer than 'surface' roads with traffic signals, cross traffic and people driving in different directions at different speeds. As far as traffic goes, toll roads tend to have somewhat less traffic than freeways simply because they do charge a fee. Still there is no guarantee that there will be no backups or slow going. The particular roads that you mention can be avoided by taking I-81 south from Harrisburg, I-70 west to Indianapolis and I-65 up to the Chicago area. That would add about 110 miles and 2 hours to your trip (which is going to take a day and a half at any rate, and would be just as safe. For my money (or lack of it) that's how I'd go.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


    I just recently returned home to Pittsburgh from a road trip to Tucson, Arizona, and we took I-70 from St. Louis all the way home. There was no traffic, very little construction, and most of the construction that existed was not an active work zone so we got through it quickly. I'd suggest just doing that, but I've also never been a fan of toll roads :)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Minneapolis Metro


    I have taken the trip from Philly to Milwaukee many times and I would suggest taking the toll ways for a number of reasons.

    1. I-70 is duplexed with the PA turnpike through the middle of PA so you won't be able to avoid the tolls there.
    2. I-70 (and to a lesser extent I-81), while very scenic, are very twisty through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland. I actually believe that the speed limit is only 55 on I-70 from the Maryland line to the PA Turnpike and from the where it leaves the PA turnpike to the Ohio border.
    3. Cities!....on the toll route you skirt the edge of Pittsburgh and Cleveland and don't really have to worry about local traffic since they are mainly through roads. But taking non-toll roads you have to travel through Columbus and Indianapolis, and while they are not known for massive backup it is always a little tricky getting through cities you are not familiar with.

    As for your safety issue the toll roads are much better maintained than the non toll roads and the amount of traffic on them tends to be less. And like I mentioned they are pretty much straight roads with few bends (except for the PA turnpike through the middle of PA).

    What is you ending destination? Cause there is really no good way to get through Chicago but depending on your destination there may be other alternatives.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If Chicago is not your destination, I'd take I-70 to Indianapolis, then I-74 west to connect with wherever you are going.

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