Friday, May 28, 2010

Toledo Trip #12

It's road trip time again! Amber and I are about to head up to Toledo to spend the weekend with her side of the family. It should be a fun weekend, and the weather looks nice, too. I'll provide updates on Twitter/Facebook throughout the weekend, depending on how interesting our activities are. I think we'll be spending a lot of time outside.

As for the drive there and back, holiday weekend means heavy traffic, right? I'm just not sure how much extra traffic there will be this weekend. This is the first time we've gone to Toledo over Memorial Day weekend (we usually go for the Fourth of July), so I don't have any past experience here. I'm reasoning that we'll be going against the flow of traffic, since most people will be heading towards the beach on Friday, while we head away from the beach and towards Ohio. Also, there aren't as many long-distance travelers this weekend as there are over Thanksgiving or Christmas, or even the Fourth of July. So, I see no need to do the whole "leave at 1:00 AM to avoid traffic" thing, since this drive's worst bottlenecks (I-77 in Virginia and West Virginia) are in places where most traffic is of the long distance variety. We'll save the overnight driving for Christmas.

Now...I've long known what the fastest route from here to Toledo is: US-33 via Athens to Columbus, and US-23 from there to I-75 in Findlay. The last six times we've gone to Toledo, that's the route we've taken, both there and back. But now we have something new to try out: a new 10-mile stretch of US-35 in West Virginia has been expanded to four lanes! Woo!

View Larger Map

Back when all of US-35 in West Virginia was two lanes, I determined that the US-33/Athens route was 8 minutes faster than the US-35/US-23 via Chillicothe route.

View Larger Map

However, re-averaging of segment times in the last two years has reduced the difference to 6 minutes. And, last time we drove US-35 in West Virginia, the first section of the new four-lane US-35 was complete (between I-64 and WV-34), and that alone reduced the time difference by another 3 minutes thanks to the new high-speed I-64 interchange that went along with it. Will the next new section take care of the remaining 3 minutes and give us a second, equally fast, route to Toledo? We'll find out. If nothing else, at least we'll get to do something different this time.

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