Advice on travelling I-95 from DC to CT next Thursday

I couldn’t really find any helpful websites along these lines. I mentioned my trip to somebody who said “Don’t take the Harbor Tunnel, take the Ft. McHenry tunnel” When I looked at a map and my mapquest directions it didn’t look as though I would’ve thought to take the Harbor Tunnel instead of the Ft. McHenry Tunnel anyway. But I didn’t know I’d be going through any tunnel at all

I’m asking if there are any major construction delays that Dopers know about and recommended detours if so, but I’d also just like to know any tricky parts of the trip, places where I’m likely to get in the wrong lane, or miss the left exit, etc. And what are the major landmarks of the trip in terms of tunnels, bridges and similar things I haven’t thought of?

I’m leaving Fairfax Co., VA at 5 am Thursday, July 22 in the hope of evading both DC and Baltimore rush hours, and am heading for Stamford, CT

Thanks Dopers!

Make sure you have ~ 30 bucks in cash for the tolls. :wink:

It’s an easy trip. Take lots of money for tolls, and it’s pretty darn hard to screw things up.

Well, veteran of a number of transits from Virginia Beach to Groton CT when we were moving up here thanks to Uncle Sam…I always avoided New York entirely…

I would take NJ 287 and head northwards to rt 87[new york state thruway] and go over the bridge in Nyack, then back to 95 on NY 287 [they are 2 DIFFERENT rt 287…]

I got the route way back in 89 from AAA, and even though it looks like you are going around your ass to get to your elbow, you avoid NY entirely=) and in my eyes that is a good thing. Nothing agains NY as a place to visit, but you don’t really want to drive through it if you absolutely don’t have to…roads always needing or under repair, odd signs - sometimes they clearly mark the correct route, other times you need to be psychic to know which way to go…It does have toll roads .

Here’s info on the two habour tunnels in Baltimore

When I go up to Delaware from Virginia, I usually end up going through the Harbor Tunnel – if you hit Baltimore about 1 or 2 pm, there is almost no traffic from just before you go through the city (which I absolutely love; Baltimore is my favourite city in the US, and I think it is so beautiful the way it opens up all around 95, all of a sudden like. My dad was born in Middle River.) and the turnpike is fairly docile all the way through Wilmington.

Tolls through Maryland are 3:

  1. Tunnel in Baltimore (I can’t recall if it’s both ways; the link I provided ought to say so.)
  2. Susequehenna Bridge (which I think is $5 and only when you’re heading north)
  3. to get out of Maryland and into Delaware (both ways)

I will be heading up that way next week, and then eventually moving to live back in DE for the academic year, and if you’ll excuse me, I have to go off and grin like an idiot out of sheer happiness…

Egads no! Avoid 95 like the plague! You can do a much much easier trip through alternate routes. It may take a little more time but it’s such a more pleasant drive. Take 270 to 70 west towards Hagerstown. Then get on 81 North and go through PA. 81 will turn to 78 E. (Towards Allentown). 78 will take you through to Jersey. Then take 287 N (E) through NY (87 287 loop) over the Bridge (can’t remember which one, I think Hudson or something) to 95 and Stamford is right there.

I hatee 95 with a passion and try to avoid it as much as possible. I’ve driven this route from Northern VA to Massachusetts many a time. Tried 95 once and we wanted to kill everyone. 81 is much better, though it is a major trucking route. It’s still nice and through lots of countryside. Not many tolls either. There’s something for the bridge and maybe another, about $5 or so total. Really. The tolls kill ya on 95.

The NY Hudson bridge on 287 is the Tappan Zee Bridge. You would go 95 to the NJ Turnpike (which is 95 sorta) to 287 all the way over the Tappan Zee (still on 287) to 95. Then about 2 miles North to Stamford. This is easy, and completely avoids NYC.

When you get out of the city (Baltimore), you’ll pass a mall and business park on your left, and on the right you’ll see a big-box strip mall with a Best Buy and a Dick’s and a Target… wave! You’ll have just passed where I live about five minutes earlier. :slight_smile:

Drive carefully and have a safe trip.

You might want to check out This site for travel information.

You can save a little in tolls if you exit onto NJ 322 (I think it’s exit 4) just after you cross into PA. It’s a free crossing if your headed north.

Depending on where you’re going in CT, take I-695 in Baltimore North to I-83. Take I-81 North when you get to Harrisburg (though there was some pretty bad construction for a stretch where I-81 peels off I-78 a few months ago). Take I-83 to I-84 near Scranton. Take 684 South to I-287 and then finally get back onto I-95 for Stamford. That avoids the Cross Bronx Expressway, one of the worst highways in America (high volume of traffic on three lanes with lots of trucks and a brick wall about three feet from the roadway. :eek: ). It’s longer, of course, but traffic shouldn’t be a problem for most of it.

The Tappan Zee. :smack: I’ve traveled over it so many times I can’t believe I forgot it. It’s a decent alternative route. I strongly suggest using it.

I just drove from Florida to Massachusetts last weekend. I just went straight up I-95 the whole way. There were no problems to speak of. No need to make things overly complicated. I have a Fast-Lane pass for the tolls though. That helps.

I’ve driven from Baltimore to Maine about 10 times, and Baltimore to Mass, separately, about 4. And Baltimore to NYC about a million.

First of all, it’s NOT necessarily easy. If you just “stay on 95” you’ll find yourself in Trenton, NJ looking like you’re at the end of 95. You’ll pull out a roadmap and realize that somehow I-95 is 20 miles east of you, and you need to go back south and east to get on it.

Second: 95 is faster than any of these other routes. Don’t go 81. You can save on tolls, but don’t think you’ll save any time or gas. Maybe it’s different if you’re going from Northern VA than Baltimore, but I doubt it. 95 is so much more direct. And, there’s ALWAYS construction in PA it seems.

OK. . . here’s the important stuff. . .

The way to avoid this “Trenton” confusion is to get on 295 to go across the Delaware Memorial Bridge (Del-Mem-Br on road signs) and get onto the New Jersey Turnpike. This eventually becomes I-95 again, near the aforementioned problematic Trenton area.

Now, when you get up to NYC, you can go across the Tappan Zee bridge or the George Washington bridge. If you’re going to Stamford, it’s almost definitely easier to take the GW bridge. That, IINM, is I-95. You’ll battle some traffic up there, but just follow the signs for “NEW ENGLAND” and once you get out of NYC, you’ll be right near Stamford.

If you go across Tappan Zee, you have a lot more turns to make, and you’re going out of your way. It’s kind of crazy up there, but manageable.

Around Baltimore, I think it’s easier to take the Fort McHenry tunnel. That just involves staying on 95. If you do find yourself heading towards the Harbor tunnel (895), don’t fret. It hooks right back up with 95.

So, basically, once you get off the DC beltway, the only thing you have to worry about is getting on the Del-Mem-Br instead of staying on 95. Other than that, 95 right into Stamford.

I’ve been driving back and forth between NYC to Northern VA every couple of months for the last 13 years.

95 and the NJ Turnpike to 95 over the GW Bridge is the quickest way.

Since I’ve gotten mellower in my old age I usually take 895 through Baltimore instead of 95, though. I don’t think it matters one way or the other time-wise.

I’ve done the alternate route through PA, as described by carimwc, and it is a more scenic drive, but it takes significantly longer and there’s construction northeast of Harrisburg that ties up traffic everytime I’m out there. Westbound, anyway. I’d avoid it.

Provided you leave at 5am you’ll be in Stamford by lunchtime, easily.

Hopefully you have an EZPass.

The only part that can get confusing is when the NJ turnpike splits for the Lincoln Tunnel or the GW Bridge when you get close to NYC. You just have to pay attention to the signs. There’s some splitting and merging that you have to do so be alert!

Take the lower level of the GW Bridge unless you want the view. If you can nudge your way over to the right at the toll plaza, which is before the bridge, you can save yourself a couple of minutes and aggravation. The middle lanes are for EZPass if you have one. There’s no toll coming back on the bridge.

You pay a toll when you come into Delaware from Maryland. If you stay to the right there’s a couple of satellite tollbooths a little further up that don’t have such a big line. Well, it’s either the Delaware tollbooth or the post-susquehanna tollbooth. I really think it’s the Delaware one.

AM station 880 has traffic on the 8’s and AM station 1010 has traffic on the 1’s. You might want to listen once you’re past say, exit 13, just in case anything really bad happened.

That would be exit 13 on the NJ turnpike.

It’s the Delaware tollbooth.

Also, the split between 95 and 295 in Delaware (so that you go over the Delaware Memorial Bridge) is very well marked.

I used to live just a few miles from where 95 ends in New Jersey. (It was the Princetonians who stopped it.) I despise 295 - the other way is to stay on 95 until it becomes 295 (it just does it, no exits or anything) and get off on US 1. Take that north about 18 miles to the New Brunswick entrance of the Jersey Turnpike. I agree that the George Washington Bridge is the way to go.

I used to drive from Boston to Williamsburg all the time, but that was before they finished 95 through Philadelphia.

I hope you’ve never actaully taken that route before, that’s the long way to go. If you have I’m guessing that you just took what ever computer mapping program gave you and went with it. If you want to go through PA then do not get on 70 towards Hagerstown, instead continue on US 15 north through Frederick and towards Harrisburg. It’s 90% highway until just a few miles south of Harrisburg. Then just follow the signs for 83/81.

This is the way I go because I hate paying the tolls and it’s just as fast for me. I live in Montgomery Co MD and it’s ~265 miles to NYC. Going through Hagerstown it’s got to be at least 300-310.

Okay, you may as well wave at me too. I live about 5 miles from the Best Buy.

I so second this route. I was traveling back from NC to CT. The trip down cost me something like 15 bucks in tolls. I took 95 the entire way (except 295 around Richmond). Coming back I took the way you listed, and it was beautiful. And stress-free.

You can wave at me too, when you pass Maryland house about 10 miles north of BiblioCat.

You can take either tunnel through Baltimore, and don’t worry, you almost can’t mess up getting back on I-95 if you take 895.

895 has a 50 MPH speed limit most of the way and seems more heavily patrolled, but I-95 has some construction north of the Ft. McHenry Tunnel. 895 definitely has less on and off-ramps.

I commute home through there every day and use each about the same amount.

The best advice I can give is to watch for overhead signes saying that either one is congested.