In the morning, the rush can start as early as 5:30am and last until 9:30/10. In the afternoons, it starts around 3pm and runs until about 7pm.
Weekends are not usually a problem unless you are talking about a summer weekend, in which case you will run into traffic heading to Providence or Portland.
As mentioned above, 3-7pm for evenings and 5:30-9:30 for mornings are the rush hours around here.
And let's be clear that there is no such place as "Boston/Chelmsford" .. it's a term hotels use. Boston and Chelmsford are 30 miles apart and in certain conditions, that drive could take over an hour.
Right now google maps lists the shortest drive between Boston and Chelmsford I-93 N to US Rte 3 N: 30.3 miles 39 minutes (in current traffic 53 minutes)
It's summer, traffic is usually lighter in summer ... but I haven't heard traffic reports to know if there is anything unusual going on .Edited: 06 August 2013, 22:41
Yeah, that Boston/Chelmsford thing got me too. Chelmsford is nowhere near Boston.
Rush hour typically is heavier inbound in the morning and outbound in the evening. The exception is 128, which circles the city. That's heavy in both directions during rush hour.
Providence has horrible rush hour traffic. It's a real city. Burlington VT and Portland ME are very different. Not as congested/densely populated around them. Traffic yes. Nightmare traffic not likely.
when I'm not taking the train, I drive opposite that rush hour traffic. it is unbelievably heavy going south on route 3 in the morning, and going north in the late afternoon. I really don't know how or why people do it.
Boston to Portland, ME -- weekday travel from Boston to Portland should be governed by Boston morning rush hour traffic and desires to avoid it.... local in-town traffic in Portland generally calms down by 9:15 or so. In the evening, Portland gets busy by about 4:30 and tends to calm down again by 6:30..... and at no time is Portland traffic anywhere near Boston's...
Weekend travel between Boston and Portland: Worst traffic coming north is on Friday nights as everyone from Boston (and points further south) head north for their weekend in New Hampshire or Maine. I'd try to get out of Boston by 2:30PM at the latest.... and if I couldn't get out by 3:00 at the latest, I'd find myself something to do/good restaurant/whatever until at least 8:00PM when things have cleared out considerably.
Southbound traffic is worst on Sunday afternoons and evenings.... and is a bit weather-dependent... if weather is rainy, folks tend to head home (south) earlier in the afternoon -- but if it's warm and sunny, they tend to "stretch" their stay and leave late-afternoon to early-evening. Depending on the weather, I'd want to be on the road out of Portland by 1:00 or 1:30 in the afternoon, or wait until 9:00PM to head south, On busy weekends, traffic can start to back up at the southernmost toll booth on the Maine Turnpike as early as 2:30 in the afternoon.... And remember, once you get into New Hampshire, you'll be joined by all the folks heading home from their day on the coastal beaches there. My personal choice for the easiest weekend travel to Maine from Boston (if I had the option) would be to drive up from Boston on a Friday morning and drive back to Boston after the rush hour on Monday morning.
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