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Old 08-06-2022, 02:15 PM   #1
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Chicago Routing

Good afternoon all. At the end of this month my wife and I will be making our way from Ohio out to Glacier NP, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.
I have the route planned using both RVTW and Garmin 890. Our route takes us the first day to Michigan City, IN, and Day 2 north to Hixton, WI which means we must negotiate the Chicago area. RVTW and Garmin have us picking up I-90 out of Michigan City, and following it through, what appears to be the heart of Chicago. I have no idea as to what I-90 would be like going north through Chicago on a Monday morning as we have never been in and around the Chicago area. Other alternative I see are:
(1) take I-94 to I-294 to I-90,
(2) I-94 to I-294 to I-290 to I-90,
(3) I-294/80 to I-355 to I-290 to I-90
Thanks for thoughts or recommendations on the best routing to head north around Chicago! I guess most routes depend on how far west to travel before heading north.
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Old 08-06-2022, 02:32 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Going Slow View Post
Good afternoon all. At the end of this month my wife and I will be making our way from Ohio out to Glacier NP, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.
I have the route planned using both RVTW and Garmin 890. Our route takes us the first day to Michigan City, IN, and Day 2 north to Hixton, WI which means we must negotiate the Chicago area. RVTW and Garmin have us picking up I-90 out of Michigan City, and following it through, what appears to be the heart of Chicago. I have no idea as to what I-90 would be like going north through Chicago on a Monday morning as we have never been in and around the Chicago area. Other alternative I see are:
(1) take I-94 to I-294 to I-90,
(2) I-94 to I-294 to I-290 to I-90,
(3) I-294/80 to I-355 to I-290 to I-90
Thanks for thoughts or recommendations on the best routing to head north around Chicago! I guess most routes depend on how far west to travel before heading north.
of those you listed #3 would be best. that will take you south of the city and, if you time it between 10a-2p you'll have the best chance to avoid heavy traffic.

but...a better choice would be to continue WB on I-80 past I-355 to NB I-39. take that up to I-90 to continue west. upside is you'll avoid ALL tolls (I-90 B is a toll road) except one (I-80 @ I-294). downside is that some have reported I-80 to be a rough road. I haven't been on it for a year so can't confirm but we ran I-80 WB from I-355 to the Iowa boarder in May 2021 and found I-80 to be OK. to paraphrase, I think rough roads are in the seat of the driver.

good luck and safe drive.
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Old 08-06-2022, 02:45 PM   #3
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We did #2 eastbound the first week of May at 9am and it was no problem. Don't remember if we were with or against traffic.
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Old 08-06-2022, 03:05 PM   #4
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Take a look at US33 to US224 to US24 to I39 to I90. I used that route last year going west to avoid the Indiana Toll road and all the tolls and craziness around Chicago. US 224 and US24 thru Indiana and Illinois are good roads and a pleasant way to avoid the Gary IN/ Chicago area. Safe travels.
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Old 08-06-2022, 04:11 PM   #5
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We did #2 eastbound the first week of May at 9am and it was no problem. Don't remember if we were with or against traffic.
Not much difference between "with and against" traffic, around Chicagoland. That ended back in the 90's when many Corporations started moving out into the burbs.

The 10AM - 2PM times sound about correct. Although I haven't done the WorkADay Race circuit for over a decade.

About the only thing that might make your decision simpler would be :
1) avoid the 94 through Downtown.
2) avoid the I80 stretch past 355 and through the Joliet area. It's a collection of rough potholes.

If you are a early riser, I am, try to get through Chicago around 4AM and definitely before 7AM. You will likely avoid most slow downs and stoppages. Although, some of the racers might be intimidating.

Just remember, there are no Guarantees!
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Old 08-06-2022, 11:33 PM   #6
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Why are you even going through the Chicago area?

Your Profile states you're leaving from Marysville, OH. If your first stop would be Grand Teton NP you could do this route:

1700 miles

I-70 to Indianapolis
I-74 to DesMoines
I-80 to Rock Springs, WY
191 to Jackson, WY
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Old 08-07-2022, 03:26 AM   #7
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Why are you even going through the Chicago area?

Your Profile states you're leaving from Marysville, OH. If your first stop would be Grand Teton NP you could do this route:

1700 miles

I-70 to Indianapolis
I-74 to DesMoines
I-80 to Rock Springs, WY
191 to Jackson, WY
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That is correct. If our first stop was the Tetons I would use that route; however, Glacier NP is our first destination. Note in my original post Day 1 has us in Michigan City, IN thus the need to skirt Chicago as we head up to Hixton, WI.
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Old 08-07-2022, 07:55 AM   #8
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I Second taking 80 west to I39. This has been debated Ö yes joliet is busy, but the roads there are not THAT bad. The rest of the drive is wide open .. far far calmer than going through chicago
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Old 08-07-2022, 08:50 AM   #9
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Thanks all.
I think we have settled on the I-80 to 39 then north. After moving all the options around in RVTW not a great amount of mileage is added by taking this route. Another option I looked at was I-355 to 88 to 39 then head north.
Again, thanks.
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Old 08-07-2022, 09:07 AM   #10
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Thanks all.
I think we have settled on the I-80 to 39 then north. After moving all the options around in RVTW not a great amount of mileage is added by taking this route. Another option I looked at was I-355 to 88 to 39 then head north.
Again, thanks.
good choice. fyi..I-355 and I-88 are both toll roads.
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Old 08-07-2022, 05:08 PM   #11
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Another option to bypass Chicago.....

1980 miles:

I-70 out of Marysville OH
I-74
I-80 at Davenport, Iowa
N on I380 to I-35
I-494 on west Minneapolis
I-94
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Old 08-07-2022, 09:21 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Going Slow View Post
Thanks all.
I think we have settled on the I-80 to 39 then north. After moving all the options around in RVTW not a great amount of mileage is added by taking this route. Another option I looked at was I-355 to 88 to 39 then head north.
Again, thanks.
Understand you are settled on your route. Any of them will get you there, albeit requiring some patience on your part. We just drove from Wisconsin Dells area to Michigan through Chicago. There is a lot of construction and delay on the 290/294 route which you will avoid, but you should plan to encounter delays on the east/west section of 80/90 through northern Indiana all the way to the 80/294 split. We have travelled this route twice in the past few weeks and this stretch was the biggest snarl in both cases. And I understand you are already aware of the issues with I-80 near Joliet. Good luck.
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Old 08-07-2022, 09:36 PM   #13
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Having navigated the Chicago area more times than I want to count, here is what I do. I set my GPS to no tolls, and then it takes me from (going west) 94 /80 to 6, then to 57. This takes you through a bit of Chicago suburbs but you never get the worst of downtown. Makes going though Chicago area way more bearable.

Of course that sends you west on 80 in the end, so if you are going north for Glacier first, you might want to cut north once you are west of Chicago. Trust me though, I have never found a good time yet to get through Chicago other than this route.
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Old 08-12-2022, 09:51 AM   #14
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Two suggestions for getting thru Chicago:

- Use Google Maps traffic feature - as you approach Chicago make your decision at the last minute, the traffic slow-ups going around Chicago are unpredictable.

- Use an EZ-Pass to pay tolls - The one I have works in PA, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The cost difference is significantly cheaper with the EZ-Pass versus paying cash.
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