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

I also recommend the PA route, seconding the call for taking 15 N through Frederick (depending on where you are in NoVA, you may want to take 7 to Leesburg and catch 15N there). It is definietely less stressful and prettier.

If you have to take 95, I would suggest popping over onto 295 ruight after the Del Memorial Bridge, taking that towards Trenton, then dodging east on 195 to get back to the NJ Turnpike. Less traffic, and no tolls (Saves about a buck). It lets you out at exit 7A on the turnpike.

Excellent advice here, I would start listening earlier than 13, maybe 9 or 10, then if things look really crappy around NYC, you can take an alternate route like 287 or the Garden State Parkway. Both of those roads take you to 287E in Rockland Cty (it is actually all the same 287, it’s just a strangely shaped road, like a letter C), going straight towards the Tappan Zee Bridge. 287 is further out of the way, and the GSP has its own traffic/toll issues, but either might better than a 1hr wait at the George Washington Bridge.

I drove it regularly from Fredericksburg, VA to MA for 4 years. We loved it. We did a comparison with 95, and yes, while it’s a bit longer, the stress was much much less. We originally got the route from AAA as an alternate to 95, as my parents didn’t want to drive it. 15 is also a decent route and I used that when I lived in Sterling. We drove through Hagerstown last Thanksgiving from Alexandria and had no problems. Took about 8 1/2 hours, which isn’t bad.

I sometimes have to take 15 from Rt 29 in Charlottesville through Leesburg through Point of Rocks on my way to Frederick, and I would like to note that that 30 or so miles of road makes me positively homicidal. (I have a friend in Frederick who refers to the traffic on that stretch as the ‘creeping Jesus parade’). It’s a 4 hour drive for me from central VA to Frederick, and I swear, that wee stretch of road is the longest part of the drive.

Past Point of Rocks and it’s fine and dandy again.

Sorry, but I had to get that out – I have to make that trip next Friday, and am just practicing advance moaning. (And part of my dread is I always seem to get stuck behind a gravel lorry – one time when I made that trip in a hired car, even keeping a healthy distance behind the lorry, rocks flew off and cracked the windscreen in several places.)

I must be bonkers, but I love driving 495 around DC, and the whole 95 corridor.

This is great stuff guys! Especially when to wave.

You can’t buy information like this (well, actually it’s $14.95 a year and a bargain).

I’ll probably not go the PA route, as I would like to get there sooner than later, but I might go for the Tappan Zee Bridge (a very odd name, is it somebody’s name?).

Someone else will have to give you the Tappan part, but Zee is Dutch for bridge – and up there you are in Washington Irving country, near Tarrytown (so with all the waving you’ll be doing, wave to the Headless Horseman, too, perhaps? :slight_smile: ). I’ve taken this route to go up into New England, and the area around and across the bridge is stunningly beautiful.

Gah! :smack: Dutch for SEA!


From the NYS thruway website (I’d link, but the site doesn’t seem to be working, this is from Google’s cache)

If you go over the bridge, you’ll get why “sea” is appropriate for this part of the Hudson River.

I’ve made 4 round trips between Florida and Massachusetts, 7 times on 95, once on 81.

The first trip, northbound, i got confused when exiting Delaware, because i thought the NJ Turnpike was 95. I ended up taking 95 into Philly during rush hour, yechh. Just pay attention to signs for the NJTP, which eventually turns into 95 again, and you should be all set.

On my last trip, southbound, i got confused by the tollbooths at the beginning of the Jersey Turnpike. I thought the signs said that Fast Lane was all the way to the right, but it ended up being the right 3 lanes. By the time i realised i was in the Fast Lane, it was too late to switch because there was a concrete barrier between the Fast Lane and the normal tollbooths. Fortunately, you don’t need a ticket if you’re driving the entire turnpike, because you’ll be charged the maximum amount whether you have one or not.

Roll up your windows in northern New Jersey.

Pay close attention to signs in New York. You don’t want to be fighting for the correct lane at the last moment.

Oh, man, 95 headin north into Wilmington about 5pm is horrible. It was like a parking lot today. I’m there every day … oh the humanity.

Going to the U of D eh ? I live right there on Elkton Road, so wave at the black Chevy and then you can laugh at the guy with the “Who the hell was that ?” look on his face. heh heh heh


How far is Fredericksburg from DC? Because 8.5 hours from DC to Stamford sounds ridiculously long.

The route I’d take from Jersey to Stamford (Only if you have EZPass):
Jersey Turnpike to Exit 11.
Pick up the Garden State Parkway North.
Take the Parkway all the way up and out of NJ.
Pick up 87/287 to the Tappan Zee.
Take the Tappan Zee to the Cross Westchester (287) to 95N.
A few miles on 95N will get you to Stamford.
What’s stressful about driving in this area anyway? I’m asking quite seriously.

I went to Ursuline for high school, and my mum worked for years at the Wilmington hospital, second shift, before moving out to Christiana – so I know when NOT to be on 95 (or 896 for that matter – any Saturday morning in the summertime, heading south!) Crikey, yes, I am more than familiar with the I-95 Car Park.
I’m up to DE next week to get an apt on Elkton road at Victoria Mews, actually. Because at 39 I am NOT NOT NOT moving back in with my mum and dad! :eek:

You can’t miss me – I’ve got the green Mini with a Union Jack on the roof!


THREE MILES? The Tappan Zee (thanks for explaining the name) Bridge is THREE MILES long? Over a sea-like expanse? Thank you so much for including this information. I have a little bit of bridge anxiety. I think I might take New York City over a three mile bridge.

Um, guys, what’s that Delaware Memorial Bridge like? It’s a normal, regular, you’re-over-it-before-you-know-it bridge right?

We weren’t driving to Stamford- we drove to the Boston area, so it’s at least another 2 hours from Stamford, if not more. Fredericksburg is about an hour south of DC, without traffic.

The Tappan Zee is a bit of a long bridge. If you have bridge issues I wouldn’t recommend it then. It would most likely freak you out.

Not quite… sorry to be the bearer of bad news for you, but you may want to look at this page first. Or not.

The world’s longest twin suspension bridge

The Tappan Zee Bridge is spectacular at night.

No worries, although you can see the Delaware Memorial Bridge from miles away, it’s nowhere near the expanse of the TZ! It does ‘hump up’ in the middle cos it’s over the C & D Canal, so it needs to be high enough for the large ships headed out to sea. But you’ve over and off before you know it.

PS – I just looked at the link and the photos; gosh they make it look spectacular! Lovely.

But honestly, even if it is the world’s longest suspension bridge, if traffic is moving, you’ll be all right. It’s wide enough that you can get into an inside lane; I don’t know if that will help you or not.

And I’m speaking as someone who does not like crossing bridges, either (if Im the passenger, I slide down in the seat and peer over the edge of the car out the window, and if I’m driving I tend to howl a bit. I avoid 301 through Maryland and Virginia because of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge if I can help it…it just feels narrow and wobbly, but the DMB is so wide and sturdy, it’s nowhere near as nerve wracking.)

Oh, that makes a lot more sense, then.

The Tappan Zee is really long, but it’s not unsupported. It runs over pylons for most of the way. It feels quite safe.

But don’t listen to me–I like going over bridges. Except for one bridge in Maryland. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge, maybe? It was a lil’ skinny bridge that went up really high, and I felt like I was going to fly right off of it. Freaked my shit right out.

I agree about 81 – but there’s two useful tricks you omit.

  1. Stay on 270 through Frederick – it dead-ends and flows into US 15, which is divided highway though not limited access, and easy driving until you get to suburban Harrisburg, where you have about 10 miles of exurban highway to deal with. Take 15 up to PA 581 West (not East to I-83, which is a PITA to negotiate) and take 581 the five miles northwest that get you to I-81. This saves about an hour’s driving up to Hagerstown and back to Harrisburg, being the hypotenuse of a right triangle based in Hagerstown.

  2. Rather than leaving I-81 to take I-78 past Allentown and through Jersey and NYC, stay on 81 northeast to Scranton, then take I-84 due east across PA and lower upstate New York to CT.

If you’re talking the Cape Charles to Norfolk Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, as opposed to the one that crosses the bay from near Annapolis to near Salisbury, that truly is a trip. My favorite thing about it is a “Deer Crossing” sign out of sight of land – it’s actually just before you come up on an island that does have deer on it, but a deer crossing sign in the middle of a 15-mile long bridge is truly bizarre under any circumstances!