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Chicago traffic

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Michigan
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Chicago traffic

We are leaving this Monday for Milwaulke from the Detroit area. What would the best time (if there is one ;-) to avoid heavy traffic going thru Chicago? We were thinking about leaving around 7am that would put us in Chicago around 11:00-11:30am. Is that a good time?

Chicago
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1. Re: Chicago traffic

Yes the middle of the day is your best bet.

Illinois
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for Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: Chicago traffic

On your way in - AM 780 - traffic reports every 10 minutes.

Michigan
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3. Re: Chicago traffic

In researching the forums for traviling to Milwaukee thru Chicago I found this post

" If you do take 94, when you reach Glencoe get in the right-hand lane. Take Hwy 41 North - Milwaukee (instead of 94 which turns westward to meet up with 294). This will allow you to avoid a long stretch of 294 (plus there are no tolls)."

Is this correct or a good way to go? If not, does anyone have a good route going thru Chicago coming from Michigan to Milwaukee?

Illinois
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for Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: Chicago traffic

Either option is fine. 41 will avoid the tolls - but there are stoplights along the way up to the IL/WI border. Both highways meet up near the state line. Look at https://www.google.com/maps

Chicago
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5. Re: Chicago traffic

Actually if you want to take 41 you should be in the left hand lane. The right hand lanes will go to the Tri-State Tollway, right after Dundee Road.

The two roads basically parallel each other a few miles apart. Unless there is some major construction, you probably won't lose any appreciable time by taking 41 instead of 94.

Illinois
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for Chicago
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6. Re: Chicago traffic

Just follow the signs to Waukegan rather than to Milwaukee to stay on 41. Do not be in the right lane if you want to stay on 41. There are very poorly timed traffic signals along this route, but they become more rare as you head north. Also, there is construction as you get on I-94 near the border.

Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: Chicago traffic

Stay on the tollroad. More straightforward and faster most if the time. Just costs a few dollars.

Michigan
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8. Re: Chicago traffic

I don't mind the cost of the tolls, I just don't want what happened last time when we went to Waukegan. We took 94 and some were toll and we got there fine. I don't know what the heck happened coming back. When we left Waukegan we got on 94 at Belvidere Road/120, there wasn't a toll booth. We got in the fast lane and I started noticing toll booths on the right but we did not HAVE to go thru them, I just figured somewhere we would HAVE to stop and pay a toll.......well that never happened. I was worried because I knew we should have paid something so of course when we got home I got on TA and explained what happened, figured out what we should have paid and did it online (thanks again for all help TA members :-) we have traveled a lot of toll roads and never could get on or off without stopping at a toll booth. It's funny now, but at the time I was so frazzled when we got home thinking we would get a big fine for not paying.

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: Chicago traffic

There was actually a very long post about the people missing the express toll lanes if you want to search through the forums. The Illinois tollway uses ipass. You can buy a transponder and put it in your car and it cuts the cost of the tolls in half. The lanes you refer to as fast lanes are the ipass only express lanes. If you have an ipass transponder, the toll is deducted automatically. If you have a transponder, it's a lot faster because you never have to stop. If you don't have one, then every time you see the booths on the right, you're supposed to get in the right lanes, go through the booths, and pay the tolls in cash. You can also do what you did, go on line later and pay the tolls.

You can get very big fines, like $25 per missed toll, if you run through a few of them without paying. They take pictures of your license plate if you pass through without an ipass transponder. You avoided the fines by paying online. If you find and read the previous post, it was by a few people that did exactly what you did. They traveled the length of the tollway, missing three or four tolls without knowing, and then got fined $75 or $100.

Chicago
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10. Re: Chicago traffic

If you drive on 94 through Chicago, there will be two tolls once you get on the Tri-state in the northern suburbs- one on the so-called spur ramp going from the Edens to the Tri-state, and another just north of Great America, by Waukegan. When you see the signs with big dollar bills, follow them.

If you make this trip fairly often it is worth it to get either an EZpass (Indiana) or the Ipass (Illinois) as the transponder works in both states (as well as others) and can also give you a discount.