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Driving Around and Driving Away

Need your help with a couple of sets of directions, with very different goals. The first letter comes from a commuter looking for a bailout route when a major highway is jammed. Every commuting motorist needs at least one bailout route. I've learned that some of you stick to your ways while some of you experiment frequently, looking to shave minutes, or to be ready with plans C, D and E, just in case you need them.

Here's that commuter's letter.
Dr. Gridlock:
The "sink hole" repair near the Wilson Bridge on the Virginia side (South 95) created a 2 1/2 hour drive home
on the inner loop of the Beltway for me.
The radio suggested a "bail out" on Exit 4 to take the Sousa Bridge to get to Virginia but did not give
enough details. I tried to figure out this route on the map but have not been successful.
1) Can you give me directions if I were to take Exit 4/St. Barnabas to get me home to Alexandria?
2) Can you suggest an alternative route from Upper Marlboro to Alexandria?
3) Is there a way to get to the George Washington Parkway from Upper Marlboro?
Mariel York
Alexandria

Now, some of you are bound to get distracted by this next one. But try not to let summer dreams carry you away, because I'm looking for your help in planning a column that will preview the best routes to popular vacation destinations.

Here's the traveler's letter.
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I live all year for my vacation at the beach in Duck (Outer Banks), North Carolina. Though I hit the road by 5 a.m., the Saturday traffic is bumper-to-bumper on Route 95 and even on Route 64 nowadays. Every year when I get a AAA TripTik©, I ask about alternate routes in case there is a terrible back-up - endemic to Interstate 95 and increasingly common on Interstate 64 -- and every year the AAA employees say that there is no alternative route. I don't believe this. Could you please identify alternate routes?
Nancy Loy
Silver Spring

One thing I learned from your comments and letters before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons is that many of you don't believe in shortcuts, at least not during these crowded times. Many believe that leaving early or traveling at odd hours creates the only real shortcut. But this is the first time I've asked about summer routes. Different?

By Robert Thomson  |  May 1, 2007; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Getaway  
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Next: Shortened Merge Jams GW Parkway

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