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Old 08-09-2015, 10:06 AM   #1
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Bypassing Chicago area on I-80/90

Recalling the terror of about 25 years ago, pulling a 30' 5er, do not want a repeat. If you have ever looked in your TV's door mount mirrors and have seen the 5er tires about a foot off the ground from an unmarked construction bump on I80/90 you can relate.

Is there a good way to avoid the worst of the traffic on alternate highways? The day we will be making the swing (Aug. 19/20) we will be leaving from South Bend, Indiana.

I am aware that a direct North route through the Michigan UP is also possible and may be a better way but that also will probably add a day+ to our trip - and that ain't all bad either, but .............
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Old 08-09-2015, 10:12 AM   #2
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Except in the Joliet area, most of the construction on WB I80 is pretty much done. You didn't say your destination, but unless it's way south, you're best off staying on 80.

I would just take it slow and go west, young man. To avoid mosdt traffic, leave very early in the AM from South Bend or 8 PM.
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Old 08-09-2015, 10:18 AM   #3
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Traffic around Chicago can be terrible, but it can be managed if:
A - You are do not traverse the area during drive time.
B - You stick to the limited access highways between Hammond and Kenosha. (If you don't plan very carefully, you will end up on a Toll Road without an EZ-Pass. Just bend over and pretend to enjoy it.)

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Old 08-09-2015, 04:01 PM   #4
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It sounds like it will just be another less then enjoyable trip around Chicago again unless I go an entirely different way. My destination for the end of next week is Rapid City, SD area for some Badlands and Mt Rushmore time.

Oh and I do have an E-Z Pass for that 'wrong' turn
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Old 08-09-2015, 04:11 PM   #5
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You can go 30 done that several times not bad rd
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Old 08-09-2015, 04:29 PM   #6
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Bypassing Chicago area on I-80/90

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It sounds like it will just be another less then enjoyable trip around Chicago again.....

It certainly doesn't have to be, but if you assume it will be then nothing you encounter will change your evaluation.

We've passed by the Chicago area on I-80 both east and westbound four times in the past three years. Yes, the traffic got a bit thick sometimes, and yes, there are a couple of small tolls, but it never stopped moving at a fair clip.

Folks going up or down the east coast often go 100+ miles out of their way to avoid 300 miles of urban density from Richmond to Hartford. That's worthwhile. But that stretch of I-80 you're talking about is only about 30-40 miles, and it's only one city. No point in going way out of your way over that. As long as you take care to avoid putting yourself into the middle of the classic rush hour time window you shouldn't have a problem. It's just driving.


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Old 08-09-2015, 04:38 PM   #7
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Download Google Maps for your smartphone and it will keep you out of traffic and automatically reroute you.

I use it on monthly trips from NJ to Key West and it has been a tremendous time saver.
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:34 PM   #8
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I'll take one more look at the Illinois map and then if nothing jumps out at me, we'll do it - and probably around 11-noon to avoid the rush hours.

No Google maps as smart phones aren't currently part of our lives. One frustrating and expensive encounter late last fall with Sprint and lack of connectivity in the Adirondacks, much of Vermont, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and are back to a simple Verizon Samsung Convoy and a cheap TracPhone that work almost everywhere.

Thanks for the encouragement.
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Old 09-11-2015, 11:07 AM   #9
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Curious how this turned out for you? We've got this route on our agenda but I'm still unsure.


Taking in the sights ...where my Trolley travels. '15 Jayco Greyhawk 31FK.
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Old 09-11-2015, 11:20 AM   #10
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Some traveling advice from a lifelong Chicagoan - I-80 is your best east-west route right now. I-90 is currently being reconstructed, and should avoid. Also do not go downtown. Big interchange project. Once west of the area I would use I-39 to head north or south to connect to I-88, I-90, I-94 depending on your destination. Best time to use I-80 is between 10 and 1 during the week. If travelling to eastern WI, use I-80 to I-294, but only after 10. Enjoy!
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Old 09-11-2015, 05:04 PM   #11
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Curious how this turned out for you? We've got this route on our agenda but I'm still unsure.


Taking in the sights ...where my Trolley travels. '15 Jayco Greyhawk 31FK.

We did that loop around about 3 weeks ago with absolutely no problem. We hit it at about 10:00AM on a Wednesday. There was actually much more confusion going around Buffalo at ~4:00PM and Cleveland about 9:30AM.

Take your time, drive in the right lane as much as possible, letting the locals do their daily 'thing' and you should be just fine.
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Old 09-11-2015, 06:16 PM   #12
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Agree with IC2. Did that route about two weeks ago right around the same time pulling a Jeep. The route is well marked heading east. Stay in your lane, stay calm, you will be fine. Same goes for Cleveland.
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Old 09-11-2015, 07:14 PM   #13
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Thanks! I was watching the traffic cams toda tst 5:30 their time and I had to ask myself where is the issue .... Sure it's a city urban region but it didn't look any worse than I 95 in Georgia where everyone is trying out to be a NASCAR driver!


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