Saturday, July 30, 2005

I Sure Love Hitting Night Traffic

I went back home to the tri-state area this weekend for some homecooking and to see the dog (and I guess my parents too). When I make the weekend trip, I usually leave around 8 PM to miss the usual rush hour traffic. A typical ride home takes about 4 hours with a stop or two, but Friday night's journey added another 45 minutes to that total.

Just before I got on the Beltway, I listened to the traffic report that made no mention of any problems, so I figured it would be another smooth ride. Suddenly around Silver Spring, traffic backed up for what seemed like a mile after a fender-bender in one of the right lanes. That's fine since it happens and we all like to look at it, etc. Traffic picked up for about a minute before coming to a complete halt.

I listen to the good'ol WTOP traffic report on the 8's and learned that I was in bumper-to-bumper traffic because 95 north was closed around rt. 212. Cars that wanted to go there were being turned around and directed onto 95 south (which was closed 15 minutes later as well).

Crap, just what I need.

I knew I'd arrive late, but this really made things worse. I stayed in the left lane for a bit and tried thinking of alternative routes since I lived around the area and had some ideas. Well, on the traffic report, the BW Parkway was backed up, as was Rt. 1, and most of the other exits on the way to the 95 north exit. Then, the report had a good suggestion, continue on the inner loop and take Rt. 50 East to 97 up to Baltimore. I got a little worried b/c I thought I was on rt. 50 longer than necessary, but it worked well as I took the harbor tunnel and rejoined 95 and eventually made it home safely. Of note on this trip is that my car broke the 1,000-mile barrier. Ya gotta love achievements like that in a brand new car.

This added lots of time to my trip, but I really feel for the out-of-towners who didn't know the local news radio station, nor any of the alternate routes. I guess it goes to show that when you're driving on unfamiliar roads, you should research what stations have traffic reports so you're not stuck in Maryland when you're trying to get to that hot summer tourist destination that is New Jersey - no really, you could visit the greatest concentration of diners in the country.

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