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Monday, September 10, 2012

Twin Bridges Construction - Congestion vs Alternate Routes

I usually stay on my side of the Mohawk River/Barge Canal - the south side - but I occasionally enjoy a jaunt in the Adirondacks, a day trip to Saratoga Springs, or even a quick trip to Clifton Park for cheaper booze/gas.
And, as it turned out this Saturday, I had plans up north. Not too far north - just Ballston Spa. With all the hullapaloo of the construction on the Twin Bridges, I figured I would take Route 9 going up and then check out the traffic southbound on the Northway going through the bridges on the way down. I wanted to see which would be faster and.....they were actually the exact same.
Well, going through Clifton Park was two minutes quicker.
It took me exactly 50 minutes to get from Troy to Ballston Spa going north on Route 9 (then getting on the northway at Clifton Park) and exactly 52 minutes to get from Ballston Spa back to Troy when taking I-87 south the whole way.
And what I learned is: People do NOT know how to drive. The construction southbound would have gone soo much quicker if people actually knew how to merge and weren't the jack-in-the-boxes who drive all the way down to where they can't drive anymore and expect a nice driver to let them in. That slows down the flow, fellow Capital District drivers. #duh
Once we were past the point of merging, the traffic was fine going over the bridge (and this was even during that ridiculous rain storm on Saturday).

The drivers in Clifton Park/Route 9 were not much better, though. Which is obviously why it took almost as long going the alternate way - when it really shouldn't have.
Another option would have been to take Route 4/32 up to Mechanicville and go over on Rt 146 or 67. I didn't feel like adding even more time to my route - but for those who have more time on their hands and don't want to deal with really stupid drivers - that might be your best option.
Obviously, listen to the DOT alerts and media follow ups (have to admit today was one of those days I was glad I didn't have to deal with morning southbound traffic compounded by Twin Bridges construction).
But, don't be too intimidated by the ridiculously long line to the bridges - which I noticed was about the same distance in either direction with the northbound side seemingly going a bit faster - either route you'll get to your destination in about the same amount of time.

Added Sept. 17 - Went up north again this weekend and used Rt. 9 til just over the bridge then a left toward the north way. It was kinda congested coming from the northway, but going to it wasn't bad. But a lot of my friends said they just went over the Twin Bridge(s) and it wasn't too bad.


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