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Old 06-07-2015, 07:55 AM   #1
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avoiding Chicago traffic

Anyone have any route suggestions for getting around Chicago as much as possible ? Heading west from NY to Montana. Trying to end up on 90 at some point. Looking at staying on 80 to either 35 or 29 north. Any thoughts?
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:26 AM   #2
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Actually going over I-80 to 294 that will take you North and isn't too bad since you are South & West of the city, but you do have some tolls. If you have the EZ-Pass there is reciprocity with IL, IN and OH so you can skip the toll booths. From what I've heard the Ohio Turnpike is a little rough. Have a safe trip.
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick danger View Post
Anyone have any route suggestions for getting around Chicago as much as possible ? Heading west from NY to Montana. Trying to end up on 90 at some point. Looking at staying on 80 to either 35 or 29 north. Any thoughts?
The first thing I would like to say is that you do not want to spend much time on route 80 south of Chicago!!!! Traffic is TERRIBLE!!!

After growing up in Chicago and finally moving to Florida after 50 years, there are a few roads to stay away from.
- You do not want to take 90 through downtown Chicago (nice view but not RV friendly and usually a lot of construction).
- I am not familiar with Rt 39 (Was a city kid) and it may be a good north/south route to take, but routes 80, 90, 94, 294, 290 I have traveled a million times. (Grandparents had a farm in lower Michigan... traveled every weekend in the summer)

- I always took RT 80 (west) to 294 (North) 294 will hit RT 90 northwest of Chicago
- OR you can take 80 (west) to 294(North) and 294 will hit 290 which connects with 90.

- It is BEST not to travel on 80 west between the hours of 7am and 10 am, and 2pm and 7PM.

Your window of opportunity on 80 is between 10Am and 2PM. It would be best to plan your trip through this section during the 10AM-2PM time slot. No matter what time you are going to hit the section of route 80, I would highly recommend that you gas up before you hit this section. And be prepared to crawl along at about 10 - 20mph for long periods. Don't get me wrong the 10 - 2 window will still have a lot of traffic. Personally I would get off of 80 as soon as possible.

Like I said... GAS UP BEFORE YOU HIT THIS SECTION OF ROAD!!
Have a GREAT trip!!

Just my experience,

Don
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:31 AM   #4
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Our son lives in Downers Grove and we have never had a back-up from IN to I-294 on I-80, just sayin...
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:42 AM   #5
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I live in Downers Grove...I recommend that you take I-80 west, take that to I-39 north to I-90 west toward Montana. By traveling this route, you will go through no big cities or towns and traffic should be moving near the speed limits if you are entering Illinois after 9am.
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Old 06-07-2015, 10:15 AM   #6
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The worst traffic in the area can be the pinch point between Indiana and IL. Make sure not to cross this area during heavy traffic times. Around here heavy afternoon rush starts about 4 and goes to 6. Do not go 294 north to 90, from 294 west 90 is under construction. If I had to drive through I would target after 8pm and before 7am.
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Old 06-07-2015, 10:38 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I've been through Chicago on cross country bike trips three times, and its always been a nightmare. Thats why I'm trying to do a little research this time. Especially with the TT this time. Any thoughts on 80 to 29 to Sioux City? Seems like that would get you out of the metro area quick. I may try to time it and stay around Gary or South Bend and get up real early and try to sneak through in the early AM.
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Old 06-07-2015, 11:31 AM   #8
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I always use I-80 across to I-39 then north to I-90. I hit only two tolls that way. Never had a problem with traffic on I-80 in Illinois either.
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Old 06-07-2015, 12:40 PM   #9
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Briefly, this was my preferred route when heading NW. If you check the maps, it makes more sense than the text below.
(I always avoided the Indiana Toll Road by using US-20)
Exit Ohio Turnpike at Western end
Take US-20 West almost all the way across IN
Exit onto State Road 2 (SW of South Bend, IN)
West on State Road 2
State Road 2 joins US-20
West on US-20
Stay on US-20 until it crosses I-94 in MI
Take I-94 West into IL
I-94 and I-80 join
Stay on I-80 West
Stay on I-80 West BUT to do so,
*** you have to exit for a toll booth soon after you cross the S.Halsted Rd. interchange.
*** After the toll booth, the road swings to the left and rejoins I-80.
*** (Note: That will be your ONLY toll since leaving the Ohio Toll Road.)
Stay on I-80 West
Take I-380 North just West of Iowa City
Then US-20, US-218, and US-18 until it crosses I-35
Take I-35 North to I-90

Fuel was cheaper in IA so I always fueled at the Flying-J in Davenport, just off I-80.

Virtually all of the non-interstate roads along this route were very good with little traffic. In many places, they are 4-lane roads.

Like others have said, hit the Chicago area at non-rush hour times... and be sure to adjust for time zones changes!
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Old 06-07-2015, 01:53 PM   #10
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We are going to South Dakota in August. My route is 94 west out of Michigan onto I-80 west. We are going to continue on I-80 west through Iowa to I-29 north. We are staying at a campground just off 29 in Onawa Iowa that night. We are leaving Michigan at 3am to avoid the traffic on 80 south of Chicago.

We'll see how that works out.
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