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Old 06-16-2020, 07:40 AM   #1
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Chicago I-80 Bypass

We travel from Buffalo, NY, to Cedar Rapids, IA, to visit our daughter which necessitates traveling on I-80 around Chicago. I can handle the traffic and the tolls, but 80 is a washboard for most of the run from the Indiana Line to Joliet. Is there an expressway solution around Chicago without taking 80?
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Old 06-16-2020, 08:04 AM   #2
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Okay, How do you feel about a river taxi or Fairy Boat?

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Buff...778795!3e0!5i1

What do you think of this route? Would this be possible? As for myself have never driven the two roadways?


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Old 06-16-2020, 08:23 AM   #3
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You're route is interesting but, I-69 across half of Michigan is the same as I-80, miles of washboard

And that ferry ride, oh boy will that be expensive! You'll need to take the Badger out Ludington for your size rig. That one docks at Manitowoc, Wisconsin 80 mile north of Milwaukee
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Old 06-16-2020, 08:34 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by wnytaxman View Post
We travel from Buffalo, NY, to Cedar Rapids, IA, to visit our daughter which necessitates traveling on I-80 around Chicago. I can handle the traffic and the tolls, but 80 is a washboard for most of the run from the Indiana Line to Joliet. Is there an expressway solution around Chicago without taking 80?

No. If there was, we'd be using it. Best bet is to go mid day, between 10 and 3.
Be aware Illinois tollway is not accepting cash at the plazas, it is iPass, EZPass, or pay online.

Fifty bucks says this policy will become permanent. (never let a good crisis go to waste).
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Old 06-16-2020, 09:14 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. You confirmed my suspicions that I-80 is the Grin and Bear It option. Going through Canada may be an option but the border is closed until probably some time in July and the ferry would be pricey. I wasnít sure if US 30 might be a viable option but that looks debatable as well.
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Old 06-16-2020, 10:06 AM   #6
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I remember that section of I80 very well.

It seemed like you would stop, pay a toll then just get up to speed and stop to pay another toll.

I don't know what they did with the toll money but they sure as heck didn't spend it on road repair.
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Old 06-16-2020, 12:17 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. You confirmed my suspicions that I-80 is the Grin and Bear It option. Going through Canada may be an option but the border is closed until probably some time in July and the ferry would be pricey. I wasn’t sure if US 30 might be a viable option but that looks debatable as well.
you'll crawl thru Merrillville, IN on US 30 and experience all that Ford Heights and Chicago Heights has to offer. there's just the one toll booth on I-80 in Illinois. unfortunately I-80 at mid-day is your best bet.
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Old 06-16-2020, 03:09 PM   #8
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Chicago I-80 Bypass

You can avoid part of 80 with a longer much more senic route. 80 to 294 toward Rockford 90 to Rockford then 20 to Dubuque and 151 to CR. 90 is brand new and great. 20 is good but some very scenic two lane just before Galena. More tolls but great highway and very scenic compared to 80. If you havenít been on this route you might want to consider it just for the beauty of northwest Illinois. 90 to Rockford is the best piece of interstate I have ever been one since its total reconstruction the last few years. I have been on a lot of interstate. I donít know any way to avoid 80 before 294 unless you do the ferry, 24 or I 70. Well you could take I90 the skyway across the Indiana border but i havenít been on that for years. I lived in Dubuque for 30 years have sons in Iowa City and Chicago area so travel that triangle often still. There also is an excellent Kane county campground just of 90 near Elgin. Paul Wolfe.
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Old 06-16-2020, 03:18 PM   #9
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if you are from Buffalo the trip around the south side of Chicago wont bother you, just try to afford rush hour
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Old 06-16-2020, 03:40 PM   #10
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I don't like paying big bucks to beat up the motor home; so I add about 100 miles and go through Indianapolis. No tolls and better traffic and roads.
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Old 06-16-2020, 04:44 PM   #11
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'm doing the same trip in August, as part of a long trip. We're dropping down to Columbus from Cleveland, then through Indianapolis, Champain and the Quad Cities. It only adds about 2 hours to the total time. The only time I go through Chicago is if I'm going TO Chicago.
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Old 06-16-2020, 05:23 PM   #12
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Here's an option, but would add a lot of miles to the route. Last summer, traveling east, we turned north at Indianapolis on I-69 until we intersected I-75 near Flint, Michigan, then north across the Mackinac Bridge, then west on US 2 until we turned south on US 51/I-39 in Wisconsin. Then west on I-94 until we hit I-35 south in Minnesota, then south into Iowa. It was all decent road.
Going to Cedar Rapids, you could shorten the route quite a bit by turning south earlier; no need to cross into Minnesota. Just a thought.
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Old 06-16-2020, 07:51 PM   #13
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Here's an option, but would add a lot of miles to the route. Last summer, traveling east, we turned north at Indianapolis on I-69 until we intersected I-75 near Flint, Michigan, then north across the Mackinac Bridge, then west on US 2 until we turned south on US 51/I-39 in Wisconsin. Then west on I-94 until we hit I-35 south in Minnesota, then south into Iowa. It was all decent road.
Going to Cedar Rapids, you could shorten the route quite a bit by turning south earlier; no need to cross into Minnesota. Just a thought.
294 is a toll road and very expensive without a transponder from IL, IN or one of the EZ Pass states. i understand thst cash lanes are currently closed but your license plate will be read and a bill sent if you fail to pay online.

that being said 294 to 90 will take you past O'Hare (1st or 2nd busiest airport depending on the day). 90 east of 294 is the Kennedy Expressway the main artery between downtown Chicago and O'Hare. that means lots of traffic. if you want to go west on 90 you can...

- go west on 80 to I-39 and then north to I-90
- I-80 east to I-294 north (toll) to I-88 west (toll) to I-39 north to I-90

generally speaking the tollway roadbeds are in better shape than the other interstates.
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Old 06-16-2020, 08:07 PM   #14
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Take the SS Badger one way. Itís not that pricy and itís a great experience. Ludington is a great visit, the Wisconsin side is a gateway to middle America.
Enjoy. Tax season is over (almost).
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