Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Holiday Traffic Thoughts

I experienced the Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of traffic situations this weekend trying to complete the trip first to, and then from Upstate NY.

First, I am happy that we (Chris, Makayla, and I) got away for the weekend to see family. So, if this sounds like complaining, it isn't. The traffic just was.

The trip to NY on Friday afternoon was an experience. The Baltimore beltway going north to I-83 was at a crawl for much of the way--and we departed at 12:30PM to attempt to miss the crush of late holiday travelers. Undaunted we continued on as we had expected such a mess.

Traveling north on I-83 still in Maryland we encountered the first of three major accidents we would experience along the way. As traffic slowed to a stop and emergency vehicles were passing us on the right we were able to extract ourselves form the highway onto a parallel road and get around the accident. We also saw a very nice policeman giving a frustrated driver a ticket for crossing the median in an attempt to reverse course. Total delay -- about 20 minutes.

Accident number two was in PA just before Harrisburg. The traffic stopped just past an exit ramp and I thought we were doomed. But, at least for a bit as the emergency vehicles were arriving, they were allowing two lanes of traffic by. I was amazed as I watched one ambulance arrive and take up one of the lanes of traffic just after we passed the scene. Delay: 15 minutes.

By now the frustration factor was rising in the car.

Clear sailing until Selinsgrove, PA. No accident, just slow traffic causing us to wait at every traffic light along that stretch of US 15. Delay: About 10 minutes.

At this point I think I am out of the woods because from there to Corning, NY (our first stop on the trip for dinner with Tim and Stephanie and their family) is usually a fast trip. But no, along Route 11 headed to PA 147 to join Interstate 180 for the swing through Williamsport, traffic is at a stop--I can see the turn, but it is not moving. 30 minutes later after a heated discussion in the car we head over the mountain and rejoin Route 15 and head north.

Original scheduled arrival time in Corning: 5PM. Actual arrival time: 6:30 PM. Ugh!

The return trip was a breeze by comparison. There was only one accident, along the Baltimore beltway where we slowed from 60mph to 40mph. Total driving time: 5h 30min. Even with the occasional rain we made great time screaming through everywhere we had waited on the trip north.

It is hard to believe the difference a couple of days can make.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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