NY to Falls Church VA and I-95 speed cameras

 

We are driving from New York City to Falls Church, Virginia. The route looks simple: I-95 south from NY straight through Baltimore, then west on I-495 to Falls Church, 5 hours without traffic.

There is an alternate route to the northwest through Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on I-78, I-76, US-15, and I-270 that would take about 6 hours.

We are leaving about 9:00 AM on a Friday which would put us through Baltimore about 12:00 or later, and we would be on the Beltway about 2:00 or 3:00.

What do you think about traffic - especially the timing on a Friday afternoon? Because of the expected traffic, is the alternate the best route?

dobs108 smile

I would suggest taking I695

I would suggest taking I695 west around Baltimore. Friday traffic on I95 is always heavier on Fridays, and the Ft McHenry Tunnel is a bottle neck, as well as being a toll.

Were I still driving my truck, I would take the western route to avoid the 95 corridor, altogether.

--
Frank Nuvi 3597LMT 37.322760, -79.511267

I-95

phranc wrote:

I would suggest taking I695 west around Baltimore. Friday traffic on I95 is always heavier on Fridays, and the Ft McHenry Tunnel is a bottle neck, as well as being a toll.

Were I still driving my truck, I would take the western route to avoid the 95 corridor, altogether.

I find traffic on the I-695 freeway (Baltimore Beltway) can often be worse than on I-95, and it is significantly longer then the tunnels. The tunnel toll is either $3 or $4 depending on who issued your E-ZPass. The I-95 Fort McHenry tunnels have enough lanes to match the rest of the freeway, and I-895 (the old Baltimore tunnels) is also available if there is any kind of issue.

I would try to be off of the Capital Beltway no later than 2:00 PM or no earlier than 7:30 PM. But tie ups can be random at any time, if there is a break down or wreck.

Be aware of camera enforced construction zones in Maryland! There are currently several on I-95 north of the Ft McHenry tunnel. These move around, and not always in sync with POI Digest data.

The US15/I-270 method is an alternative, but you can easily run into huge backups on I-270 south (even when going "against traffic" in the afternoon) as well. Also consider taking I-83 south from I-76 at Harrisburg. You can then take the aforementioned I-691 Baltimore Beltway to US 29, to the Capital Beltway (US 29 has lights especially closer to Silver Spring, but can be a nice alternative to I-95).

Or you can stay on I-83 until it ends at the inner harbor in Baltimore. You then have to drive for a few blocks to pickup the I-395 spur, thence to I-95 (no tunnels/tolls in Baltimore with this route).

In Delaware, the toll is easily bypassed in both directions, for a 5-10 minute penalty in time, but combine this with a lunch break and you win.

Thanks

phranc wrote:

I would suggest taking I695 west around Baltimore. Friday traffic on I95 is always heavier on Fridays, and the Ft McHenry Tunnel is a bottle neck, as well as being a toll.

Were I still driving my truck, I would take the western route to avoid the 95 corridor, altogether.

Thanks phranc. I made a route for I-695.

dobs108 smile

PM traffic

telecomdigest2 wrote:

I find traffic on the I-695 freeway (Baltimore Beltway) can often be worse than on I-95, and it is significantly longer then the tunnels...

Thanks telecomdigest2. I am looking at all your ideas. I checked traffic today Monday afternoon on Google Maps, and the I-95 route is green while I-695 has some red spots. Friday afternoon could be different.

dobs108 smile

Delaware toll

Here are directions to avoid Delaware toll.

http://www.triangletrip.com/2009/07/24/avoid-the-delaware-ma...

For fast food, there is a Jersey Mike's near the northern exit and Durham's Best Barbeque near the southern exit. Durham's is a bbq sandwich type place. A Creacker Barrel is south just off Elkton Road just south of the southern exit/entrance.

US-15 all the way down

Consider to take US15 South from Harrisburg, via Frederick, MD, then Point of Rock, over Potomac river to Leesburg,VA. Use VA rte-7 to Falls Church,VA. You would notice you are against traffic in most of route.

US 15

abin, is US 15 limited-access like an interstate? I may have gone that way once years ago.

dobs108 smile

food

Thanks, Metroparker. When stopping for lunch in Delaware or Maryland, does anyone know whether they still have crabs in Chesapeake Bay?

dobs108 smile

Us 15 isn't limited access,

Us 15 isn't limited access, but it's 4 lane most of the way.

--
Frank Nuvi 3597LMT 37.322760, -79.511267

Oh yes! Good crabs!

Oh yes! Good crabs!

--
Frank Nuvi 3597LMT 37.322760, -79.511267

Baltimore traffic

As a lifelong baltimorian who lives in sight of i695, beware of rush hour....3 to 630 pm. I also try to avoid the dc beltway... nightmare.
Depending on where you come from N.Y., there are several choices. I like 84 to 81 in Scranton..though challenging around Scranton. 81 to 83..... you can also take 80 or 76 to 81 and avoid Scranton. If you want to take 29, from 83, you take 695 west toward Glen burnie, then 70 West. Take first exit left to 29 south.

I would usually not recommend going into downtown Baltimore..(I worked at university of Md for decades)
unless you wanted to visit...then there are many places.

There are many places to eat, etc off 175 in Columbia (either from 95 or 29)

I would suggest if you have a co-pilot they use waze or 511pa to check traffic, accidents, etc.
Good luck!

Choices, choices

I-95 through Baltimore has been greatly improved. I used to drive through frequently because my daughter went to school in DC. I used to avoid I-95 by using 695 or 895, but towards the end when I-95 construction was done, I-95 was the better choice, with 895 the next best alternative. The time of day you are going through should also favor I-95.

As you approach Baltimore, check the traffic with a traffic app and make a last minute real-time decision.

I also tried the Harrisburg route a few times. It is long. And there is usually traffic around Harrisburg.

--
GPSMAP64s, iPhone XR w/Garmin North America, Yaesu VX-8R w/GPS.

thanks to all members!

Thanks to all members for your thoughtful suggestions!

dobs108 smile

Crabs

The crabs come from the Gulf of Mexico. Yeah, that's right. I went to one of the more famous crab places in Annapolis, and was told that they get their crabs from the Gulf of Mexico. They said the Chesapeake just can't supply the demand.

--
GPSMAP64s, iPhone XR w/Garmin North America, Yaesu VX-8R w/GPS.

Baltimore traffic

As a lifelong baltimorian who lives in sight of i695, beware of rush hour....3 to 630 pm. I also try to avoid the dc beltway... nightmare.
Depending on where you come from my, there are several choices. I like 84 to 81 in Scranton..though challenging around Scranton. 81 to 83..... you can also take 80 or 76 to 81 and avoid Scranton If you want to take 29, from 83, you take 695 west toward Glen burnie, then 70 West. Take first exit left to 29 south.

I would usually not recommend going into downtown Baltimore..i worked at university of Md for decades... unless you wanted to visit...then there are many places.

There are many places to eat, etc off 175 in Columbia (either from 95 or 29)

I would suggest if you have a co-pilot they use waze or 511pa to check traffic, accidents, etc.
Good luck!

Thanks.

phranc wrote:

Us 15 isn't limited access, but it's 4 lane most of the way.

Thanks for answering.

and only to muddy the water a bit...

abin wrote:
phranc wrote:

Us 15 isn't limited access, but it's 4 lane most of the way.

Thanks for answering.

US 15 has places where there's stop lights, cross traffic and it goes by Gettysburg... where you could find some traffic there too, not a lot but should they be having a sale on cannon balls... razz

But US 15 will dump you onto I-270 and you'd take that down to I-95 maybe or perhaps the Dulles toll road... and no matter when you get on I-270 it's a white knuckle ride...

I've done that trip from all directions mentioned numerous times... none are "good" but perhaps (from my experience) taking either the east or west 695 route are almost equal...

--
Never argue with a pig. It makes you look foolish and it anoys the hell out of the pig!

The western route

The western route is far more pleasant to drive and saves a handful of tolls. I-95 is an hour faster on a good day, but there are a lot of bad days. For the nicer drive and reduced tools, I would go west.

Consider doing your traveling at night (?)

I have done the trip from Boston a few times. I stay outside of the city (NY) by traveling the MA Pike and then making my way southwest through CT to the Tappan Zee bridge. We started the trips between 8:00 and 10:00 PM. You don't avoid all the traffic outside of of NYC and through NJ, but for long stretches you are all alone on the road except for the trucks, who travel during the overnight hours as well. We left on a Friday night one time and arrived in DC mid-day on Saturday, thus avoiding the week-day morning rush hour nightmares completely.

Just something to consider...

--
"Primum Non Nocere" 2595LMT Clear Channel and Navteq Traffic

driving at night

Driving at night would certainly have less traffic, but I cannot see as well at night as I used to. However, it could come to that:

I asked a relative who lives in Maryland outside D.C. the question, "If I-95 and the beltway have heavy traffic, is going through Harrisburg to US 15 and I-270 a good alternate?" He said the entire region around D.C. is a traffic nightmare, and every alternate is a traffic nightmare, so I may as well go on I-95.

dobs108 shock

You haven't left yet? lol

I've done my fair share of back and forths between Silver Spring MD and Rochester & Sherburne NY, and nothing is optimal. Or easy on your blood pressure.

But, as a whole the combination of I95 traffic, Balt 695 traffic, D.C's 95/495 traffic and your destination being just west of 495 .. I think I'd skeetle over towards I78/81, US15, I270 and you're just about there. Sure there's some traffic around Allentown, Harrisburg, and these days Frederick/upper I270 but it seems a more relaxing journey to me.

I83 south from Harrisburg isn't as hateful as I95, imo, but then you still have BMore and the DC beltways to contend with.

Your traffic, time, & mileage may vary. grin

Hope you have a safe trip whenever you do decide to leave!

--
It's about the Line- If a line can be drawn between the powers granted and the rights retained, it would seem to be the same thing, whether the latter be secured by declaring that they shall not be abridged, or that the former shall not be extended.

No problem!

Thanks to all the members who said the work is finished on the I-95 Fort McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore. Light traffic about noon on Friday.

Traffic began to build on I-95 south in Maryland approaching I-495 west in Virginia, the Beltway, which was heavy about 1:30 PM. This was an expected delay and not overly long.

The return trip was Sunday morning with moderate traffic except at the New York end.

Thanks to all members!

dobs108 smile

Maryland porta-Potty speed cameras?

There is an area of construction on I-95 two miles north of the Fort McHenry Tunnel. The construction is on the other side of a Jersey barrier and does not affect the main road or the express lanes in either direction.

There are two POI speed camera alerts in this area. They both operate in both directions, but we were on the express lanes. If we were in the right lane of the main road they may not have operated both ways.

Traffic behaved the same way in this area in both directions. There were a number of cars and some big rigs.

At the start of the 50 mph construction speed limit, traffic slowed to 60 mph. But when the GPS sounded the POI speed alert, I slowed to 50 and all the other drivers did the same! They all knew!

There was nothing visible that looked like a camera. There were no parked vehicles. Only two excavators and a number of porta potties.

Is this a construction area that is staged for the operation of the speed cameras? What do the speed cameras look like? Is it possible they are hidden in the porta potties?

While I think I did not receive a summons I will let you know in several weeks.

dobs108 smile

Oh yes there are maryland crabs

Out of state crabs are most common in winter...crab season this last year ended in dec, resumed in apr. Hoping to get some md crabs this week
Have a safe trip

The Waiting

dobs108 wrote:

While I think I did not receive a summons I will let you know in several weeks.

dobs108 smile

I was always afraid to check the mail for a few days after I went through that area.

--
GPSMAP64s, iPhone XR w/Garmin North America, Yaesu VX-8R w/GPS.

The Peoples Republic of Maryland

dobs108 wrote:

There was nothing visible that looked like a camera. There were no parked vehicles. Only two excavators and a number of porta potties.

Is this a construction area that is staged for the operation of the speed cameras? What do the speed cameras look like? Is it possible they are hidden in the porta potties?

dobs108 smile

Has never found a tax it didn't like...

And they'll do any really crappy thing to issue a summons on I-95...

Don't y'wonder if those porata potty's are air conditioned for the cameraman inside??? razz

--
Never argue with a pig. It makes you look foolish and it anoys the hell out of the pig!

Usually

I'm not familiar with that particular construction area, but most of the cameras I've seen in the Maryland construction zones are mounted on the front of a vehicle, at about front bumper height so you can't see them until you're past them & nailed. May be on both sides but only if 2 vehicles are used. Ones I've seen have been smallish white station wagon/suv's (Jeep Cherokees?) but I suppose there could be others.

--
It's about the Line- If a line can be drawn between the powers granted and the rights retained, it would seem to be the same thing, whether the latter be secured by declaring that they shall not be abridged, or that the former shall not be extended.

Baltimore Speed cameras

All excavators or porta potties were on the other side of a Jersey barrier so a camera mounted low would not have worked.

For this particular location on I-95 at two miles north of the Fort McHenry tunnel there were two POIs in the Speed Camera file that alerted. That implies there are fixed speed cameras there. The actions of the other drivers told the tale - everybody slowed down at the same time. They all knew something was up.

What does a fixed speed camera in Baltimore look like?

dobs108 smile

Porta Potty

BarneyBadass wrote:

Don't y'wonder if those porata potty's are air conditioned for the cameraman inside??? razz

I believe they must have the porta potty available for the camera operator in the parked white SUV. Can't have him/her use the bushes. Been through many of the US29 & I95 work zones, sometimes there is the white SUV and sometimes there isn't. Never seen a flash from the porta potty, so I don't think there is a camera mounted it it.
Mark

Unattended?

Here in Nassau County NY the vans formerly used for mobile speed cameras run by contractor ATS were unattended. No operator was needed.

On I-95, it might not be safe to park the SUV and walk away. There may be no place to walk to.

dobs108 smile

Waze

I used Waze from Charlotte to Baltimore. That told where police, cameras, work area, and stopped vehicles were (I suppose if you select those options). It drained the battery fast, so keep in charger if possible.

MD Construction areas

dobs108 wrote:

Here in Nassau County NY the vans formerly used for mobile speed cameras run by contractor ATS were unattended. No operator was needed.

On I-95, it might not be safe to park the SUV and walk away. There may be no place to walk to.

dobs108 smile

The white SUV's I've seen in the construction areas in Maryland are generally parked on the shoulder and just at the end of the barrier, so no issues with safely walking away. And yes, they are usually un-manned. I've lived here in MD for 66 years but I try to avoid the interstates and construction areas as much as possible, so I may not be up to speed on the latest tactics, lol.

Since all of them are mobile, I guess GlobeTurtle would have to tell you if any of the long-term construction area mobile cams are in the db or not.

(edit)- here's pics of the typical MD construction area cams:
https://www.google.com/search?biw=1280&bih=874&tbm=isch&sa=1...

And of typical MD roadside speed cams:
https://www.google.com/search?q=maryland+speed+cameras&sourc...

--
It's about the Line- If a line can be drawn between the powers granted and the rights retained, it would seem to be the same thing, whether the latter be secured by declaring that they shall not be abridged, or that the former shall not be extended.

thanks JD4x4!

Thanks JD4x4 for your links to speed camera images. On the trip up and down I-95 in Maryland I saw nothing like that.

dobs108 smile