Holiday road warriors, take note

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Our annual holiday traffic guide may make your getaway a little less hectic, but don't count on completely avoiding crowded roads as you plot your exit and return. Many of the drivers who contributed ideas about the routes will be out there with you. The key to success on the holiday roads is to stay alert and be patient. You'll get there.

Northeast Corridor

Traditional route: Interstate 95 to the Delaware Memorial Bridge to the New Jersey Turnpike to northern New Jersey, New York and New England.

l Alternative 1: Avoiding I-95

Route: Baltimore-Washington Parkway to I-695 around the west side of Baltimore to I-83 north to I-81 north, just east of Harrisburg, Pa. Follow I-81 north, then take I-78 east into New Jersey. There, drivers can take I-287 and cross the Hudson River at the Tappan Zee Bridge. Or they can take the New Jersey Turnpike north to the George Washington Bridge, or stay on I-78 east to reach the Holland Tunnel.

Advantages: It's not I-95, and that's enough for many. But at peak travel periods, such as Thanksgiving, it's also likely to be less congested, and it's cheaper. The scenery is better, too.

Advisories: It's about 65 more miles than the standard I-95 route. You won't necessarily get there faster. The terrain is more mountainous in sections, so watch the weather.

l Alternative 2: Avoiding the Delaware toll plaza

Route: From I-95 north, take Route 279 toward Newark, Del. Turn right onto Iron Hill Road. At the end, turn left onto Chestnut Hill Road. Then turn right onto Route 896 (South College Avenue). I-95 will be a quarter-mile down the road.

Advantages: It saves car drivers $4 at the Newark toll plaza, and for some, that's enough reason to stray from heavily tolled I-95.

Advisories: We're sending you onto local streets in holiday season. Slow down, and watch for pedestrians.

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