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Old 08-24-2015, 11:05 PM   #1
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Chicago bypass idea?

Heading East on I-90, expect to run into Chicago in a few days. I plan to stop in the Wisconsin Dells and ride some waterslides. What is the best route to avoid Chicago's traffic?

When we headed West I saw a bunch of RVs right before the city heading the same way. Once we hit traffic they all disappeared. I suspect there must be a state highway or something that is better?
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Old 08-25-2015, 08:09 AM   #2
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Terry just studied the map and says that coming from Wisconsin Dells you can't avoid the Chicago area but his advice is to go through on the weekend so you don't have to worry ab out rush hour. This past summer we tried going through Joliet, and the traffic on the alternate roads was worse than the highway. Coming back we went north through the upper peninsula and if we'd gone through Canada that would have been shorter than what we ultimately did (coming down through Toledo) --
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Old 08-25-2015, 08:23 AM   #3
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I90/94 goes by the Dells. When finished, continue on I90/94 through Madison and I39 through Peoria to I74. You have to go through Indianapolis, but it is not as bad as Chicago. You can pick up I70 and either take the PA Turnpike or drop down to I68 then I81 to avoid the tolls. And if you hit Indy outside of commuting hours, traffic is generally moderate.
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Old 08-25-2015, 09:10 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C&G in FL View Post
I90/94 goes by the Dells. When finished, continue on I90/94 through Madison and I39 through Peoria to I74. You have to go through Indianapolis, but it is not as bad as Chicago. You can pick up I70 and either take the PA Turnpike or drop down to I68 then I81 to avoid the tolls. And if you hit Indy outside of commuting hours, traffic is generally moderate.
+1 to I-39. A friend of mine drove through Chicago about 2 weeks ago and said the construction was non-stop. We often use the I-39 route, and fine it to be much less stressful.
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Old 08-25-2015, 09:39 AM   #5
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Carl's suggestion is a good one, however it requires a long swing to the south. Coming from Jersey it is not the best route. Coming from Florida, it is my preferred method.

It is really hard to avoid taking what is called the TriState Tollway I-294. There is one simple thing to make the trip easier, be sure you have a pass. The Chicago toll roads are a part of the EZPass system and being able to bypass the toll booths will save a great deal of time. Yes, even if you are towing you can use the pass and better yet there is a discount of nearly 1/2 for having the pass. I would avoid taking the Chicago Skyway, it looks shorter, but is heavily traveled.

Perhaps someone more local can speak to the option of taking I-355, I have not had the opportunity to use this newer option around the city. On some occasions I have taken I-88 west to I-39 thus eliminating the northern stretches of city traffic. The time savings are minimal.

This area of the country is very heavily trafficked. There are time that are worse than others, notably rush hours. However, you will find all daylight hours very busy. I think this is one of those situations that you can over think and over plan. The best thing is to expect you will have lots of traffic, anticipate slowdowns, use a GPS or an excellent navigator or both, take your time and realize it is only two hours.

Now to something more pleasant, the Wisconsin Dells. You will be hitting the water slides at the perfect time of the year. They will be closing in the next few days as the crowds have thinned. Check with them. This is the time of the year we always made our annual visit, Noah's Ark is the biggest. You need a warm day, if it is like today, low 70's it is marginal. As a cool weather alternative I would recommend taking the Dells boat trip. The Upper Dells is the better of the two.

Are you planning to take US 212 across Wyoming and Montana via I-90?
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Old 08-25-2015, 09:45 AM   #6
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Just traveled I-355 around Chicago a couple of weeks ago. Much nicer than most toll/freeways around Chicago since there was hardly any construction! Not too many ways to get around Lake Michigan, though.....
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Old 08-25-2015, 10:07 AM   #7
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+2, I-39 A little bit longer but no tolls pays for your extra gas. Much less stressful and you right go Cabelas in Wheeling WV.
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Old 08-25-2015, 10:21 AM   #8
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I usually bypass Chicago by going through Canada over the Great Lakes, probably too far out of the way if you are going to the Dells. Love the drive up MN 61.

That said, I proved why I go North on my last trip through the area a few weeks ago; I spent 2 hours going 4 miles on I80 just east of Joilet.
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Old 08-25-2015, 10:48 AM   #9
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When I drove around Lake Michigan on motorcycles with my bother, we used the ferry out of Milwaukee to avoid Chicago.

It was expensive; but very convenient. Motorcycles through Chicago are probably just as much fun as towing a trailer. The ferries have varying rules and rates and the Escape may be too big.
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Old 08-25-2015, 10:49 AM   #10
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We traveled during 10am-2pm. "Off" commute time...90 was a breeze. Construction is what it is..you can always try to schedule the drive by on the weekend!
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