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How do I bypass Chicago traffic?

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central New Jersey
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How do I bypass Chicago traffic?

I'm am traveling from Waseca Minnesota to New Jersey, and I'd like to know my best option for either totally bypassing Chicago or getting through it w/o hitting 2 hours or more of stop and go traffic. I traveled this route last summer and did not have good luck going either way. I thought I was doing OK hitting the area at 3:00 on the way back, and I didn't get out of Chicago until after 6:00. I have heard that weekends are better. I'm used to city driving, but that was just too much to deal with on such a long trip. What are my best options? PS. I did go right through the city on 90/94. Is 294 that much better? I need help!

Chicago
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1. Re: How do I bypass Chicago traffic?

Time your drive. 3:00 in the afternoon is too late. Come during the middle of the day, although as it is summer road construction has begun in earnest.

I've never taken 294 totally around the city so can't comment.

Chicago
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2. Re: How do I bypass Chicago traffic?

yep, avoid 90/94.

central New Jersey
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3. Re: How do I bypass Chicago traffic?

Thanks. I do have the option of weekend or weekday. Is the weekend better?

Illinois
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for Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: How do I bypass Chicago traffic?

Yes - weekends will have less traffic. Listen to AM780 - traffic reports every 10 minutes.

Illinois
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for Chicago
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5. Re: How do I bypass Chicago traffic?

I would just avoid it entirely. Take I-90 to Rockford and then take I-39 down to Bloomington. You can then get on I-74 to Indianapolis and head east on I-70. You'll avoid traffic and most of the tollway.

central New Jersey
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6. Re: How do I bypass Chicago traffic?

Have you taken the 39 74 route?

central New Jersey
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7. Re: How do I bypass Chicago traffic?

I'm not really sure what to do once I'm on 70. Will I hit traffic in Indianapolis or Columbus?

Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: How do I bypass Chicago traffic?

LIsten to WBBM 780. Traffic reports on the 8 (1:08, 1:18, 2:18, etc.). You can listen from a couple of hours out from Chicago and decide on the best route. 294 is probably the best unless there is an accident. Otherwise, you could opt for 355 south to 80 east. Going through the city (90/94) is almost guaranteed to have a major traffic jam. 3:00 is much too late on a week day to be trying to go through the city.

Fish Creek...
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9. Re: How do I bypass Chicago traffic?

Google Maps has alternate route suggestions. The through Chicago route is 1184 miles. The alternate route is through Iowa City and in to Gary IN on Hwy 80, at 1229 miles, only a 45 mile increase.

The Bloomington route, while intriguing, is 1302 miles, which adds 142 miles to the trip at $4.00 a gallon.

I would take I-80 through Iowa City/Joliet, but would still not plan to hit Chicago area between 3:00 and 6:00 PM.

Also, be sure to go to the I-Pass website and get a transponder, they are free, and it will work on ALL of the tollways from IL to NJ.

If it is between 3:00 and 6:00, yes you will hit traffic in Indy and Columbus and any other city in America. Not sure if you have made this drive before, but once you get to the IN tollway it bypasses cities all the way to Youngstown...no city traffic. Then Hwy 80 takes you across rural PA where there are no cities.

I made a similar trip in Jan from Egg Harbor to Philly (1042 mi), spent the first nigh in Elyria OH. Has gotten kinda seedy around the interchange, so I would look elsewhere for first night's lodging.

You may wish to pack fresh/good food. The entire turnpike is junk food, and you don't leave the corridor once you are on it.

Also, for planning purposes, Lancaster PA to Chicago is 14 hrs across I80/OH/IN turnpike.

Edited: 11:09 am, June 09, 2011
Chicago
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10. Re: How do I bypass Chicago traffic?

294 though is tolls so make sure you have your IPASS.