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Planning summer getaways

[Join me for our weekly online discussion at noon.]

Heading up I-95 across Delaware? Off to the Eastern Shore or down to the Outer Banks? I'm planning to offer some suggestions on routing and updates on typical trouble spots. But first, I'd like to get your questions and suggestions. What are the common afflictions of summertime travel? What are you worried about for your own route and what suggestions can you offer to other travelers?

When I opened the mailbag this morning, I found this question:

I have to travel from Columbia, Md., to Grafton, W.Va., for my high school reunion. I can leave on Friday night or Saturday morning, which do you think will have less traffic. I usually hate traveling on holiday weekends but this is my 40th reunion and don't want to miss it.

I also have to come back on Monday (our class will be marching in the annual Memorial Day parade in the town, a great tradition that all school kids did when we grew up marching to the National Cemetery) where I expect to hit traffic coming back into Maryland.

Leave early or late?

DG: While Memorial Day weekend traffic can't match what we see for Thanksgiving and the December holidays, we are starting a busy period for long-distance driving.

Some of the dampers on driving enthusiasm won't be around. AAA doesn't expect gas prices to average more than $3 a gallon. The travel association projects the number of Americans traveling this coming weekend will be up 5.4 percent from last year, when 30.5 million people traveled during the same period.

The Capital Weather Gang's long-range forecast looks good: "Cool and dry high pressure to the north probably sinks southward for the Memorial Day weekend. This means sunshine, low humidity and comfortable temperatures."

Columbia to Grafton is likely to involve a four-hour drive east on I-70 to I-68 then south on Route 119. If things sounded bad ahead on I-68, it's possible to cut south on I-81 at Hagerstown and pick up Route 50 heading east, but it's a slightly longer and winding route.

If leaving Friday, I'd leave after 8 p.m. If Saturday, real early, like 6 a.m. Monday is likely to be the heaviest traffic day for the weekend. I wouldn't delay the departure after the Memorial Day parade.

What do other travelers say?

By Robert Thomson  |  May 24, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Getaway , holiday travel  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock  
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I'm a regular traveler to the Delaware beaches. I understand that starting this week a section of MD 404 will be closed every night for the forseeable future for the dualization project. I have been unsuccessful in finding any info on these nighttime closures at MD DOT or SHA websites. I plan to head for the beach this Thursday night after work. Will 404 be open? If not, what is the detour? Any info on this would be appreciated.

Posted by: michellem1 | May 25, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

The detour is well signed. It appears to follow Alternate 404 (which parallels 404 just to the south). Just follow the signs, and follow the traffic.

Posted by: thetan | May 25, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

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