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Old 07-13-2006, 10:26 AM   #1
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495 North of Boston

The last trip around Boston on 495 was really rough. There is a section where the bumps at the bridges try to tear your trailer apart. I should have marked this on my map but was to busy making up new funny words. Any of you Boston Urbanites know what sections this is so I can avoid it on my way to Maine?
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Old 07-13-2006, 01:11 PM   #2
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it was pretty much the whole northern half, as far as I could tell...

last trip on it was for the Monadnock rally, where travelled from Lawrence to Littleton...it was just as bad as ever. No reason to believe its any better between Littleton and Worcester, but I haven't been that far in quite a while.

Last time I had to head in your direction, I did some measuring on the map. I found that taking 128 was only a few miles longer. I can't remember exactly...maybe even less than 5 miles. Whatever it was, it was a no-brainer...WAY worth the much smoother ride. I would stay on the pike to 128, take that to where 95 splits off and heads north. (Peabody). Stop at my house for coffee. (1 mile off 95).
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Old 07-13-2006, 02:58 PM   #3
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Thanks Chuck..
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Old 07-13-2006, 02:59 PM   #4
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I travelled 495 this weekend, didn't think it was bad. I use 495, rather than 128, as it provides a shoulder to pull off on if needed. If you get in trouble on 128-good luck!
Maybe I am missing something.
495 is LONGER than 128 but to us, provides a certain margin of comfort/safety.
I guess if you are not going durring rush hour (when is it NOT rush hour?) then 128 might be ok.
Just my experience...
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Old 07-13-2006, 03:23 PM   #5
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well..."it depends".

if you're going from RI to ME...you're going much farther out of your way to take 495. You'd only save time vs. 128 under the absolute worst of traffic conditions...and if they're that bad on 128, they'll be bad on parts of 495, as well. I've seen backups on the northern half that stretch for 15 to 20 miles.

over59 would be coming from much further west...it would be a shorter trip mile-wise to take 495. but only slightly longer to take 128.

I can't speak to the southern half of the road, but from Worcester to Salisbury, the overpasses are in absolutely terrible condition. I had cabinets knocked off the walls of my trailer the last time I took that road. And I wasn't driving at high speed. (~60). The thing is, the rest of the road is fine, so everyone is moving right along...then you hit an expansion joint "all of a sudden"..and B-BANG!!!

I can't think of a location on 128 where there is no breakdown lane.

rush hour is anywhere from 6-9am and 4-7 pm. the rest of the time, its fine...unless there's some kind of unusual catastrophe.
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Old 07-13-2006, 03:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck
...I had cabinets knocked off the walls of my trailer the last time I took that road...
Did you forget to screw the cabinets to the wall?

It's not THAT bad if you travel at 60 mph, leave a few car lengths in front of you so you can see the "bumps" and "holes" and then you will have time to maneuver around them. If you travel at 60 mph in the low speed lane, then everyone will be well out of your way by the time they pass you (traffic typically averages 75mph) which will give you plenty of room to maneuver. If you happen to get caught in rush hour traffic, that is not a problem either because traffic is crawling at less than 5 mph. You should have no "cabinet failures" at that speed but then again, I think Over59 is using screws to attach his cabinets to the wall.
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Old 07-13-2006, 04:50 PM   #7
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well...lets see....you showed up at the same destination, having taken the same route, -1 in the tire column. do you think that was a coincidence?

the airstream factory did use screws to attach this particular cabinet...they don't hold in fiberglass that well. (rear endcap).

you can't go slow enough on that highway to see and avoid these joints. On the odd chance that you do see one in time to do something about it, you'd have to slow so much that you'd risk getting rear-ended by someone. going "slow" doesn't have much affect on the other vehicles on the highway; if people are passing or in the process of passing. you just can't move around them.
I remember in truck-driver school, they had some real numbers that escape me at the moment...but the point of the explanation inolved a similar scenario, only at night. headlights are focused at "x" distance; Shortest possible stopping distance with "y" load and perfect reflexes (which we don't have) is <x. If you see it, you're going to hit it. Swerving will get you AND "Bambi" killed.
I know, we're talking day-time, but the same principle applies, because these are smaller targets. Believe me, I tried doing just that, because I knew they were "out there"...didn't work.

one possible explanation for this differing opinion of the road conditions is that you have a shiny new trailer, (and so does BillTex) with a presumably bouncy axle, and I do not. we're going over the same bumps, and you don't feel them, because you've got a heavier truck, a lighter trailer, and way better insulation in between.
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Old 07-13-2006, 05:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillTex
I travelled 495 this weekend, didn't think it was bad. I use 495, rather than 128, as it provides a shoulder to pull off on if needed. If you get in trouble on 128-good luck!
Maybe I am missing something.
495 is LONGER than 128 but to us, provides a certain margin of comfort/safety.
I guess if you are not going durring rush hour (when is it NOT rush hour?) then 128 might be ok.
Just my experience...
I live between 495 and 128 and I agree with you completely, BillTex. In general, the traffic is much lighter on 495 than 128, even during rush hour, and you're much less likely to run into a jam. The only place I can think of where the roads get a little bumpy is around the construction area in the Lowell area. Haven't been through there in a while though. I spend more time on 495 South of around Rte.2.
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Old 07-13-2006, 06:30 PM   #9
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Last time you there was going to Salisbury Beach Rally. The road was really good, except at the bridge joints for one area. In a car they were nothing. With the trailer they hit hard. Looked like they dug out the pavement , scored the bridge, and never came back to pave. Problem is you have to slow down to 40 and that's not good. I'll go 128 until Mass fixes the road. The southern end toward the Cape is no joy either. Not doin no tunnels up there either. Changed all our flight plans from Logan to Bradley in Hartford/Springfield.
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Old 07-13-2006, 09:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck
well..."it depends".

if you're going from RI to ME...you're going much farther out of your way to take 495. You'd only save time vs. 128 under the absolute worst of traffic conditions...and if they're that bad on 128, they'll be bad on parts of 495, as well. I've seen backups on the northern half that stretch for 15 to 20 miles.

over59 would be coming from much further west...it would be a shorter trip mile-wise to take 495. but only slightly longer to take 128.

I can't speak to the southern half of the road, but from Worcester to Salisbury, the overpasses are in absolutely terrible condition. I had cabinets knocked off the walls of my trailer the last time I took that road. And I wasn't driving at high speed. (~60). The thing is, the rest of the road is fine, so everyone is moving right along...then you hit an expansion joint "all of a sudden"..and B-BANG!!!

I can't think of a location on 128 where there is no breakdown lane.

rush hour is anywhere from 6-9am and 4-7 pm. the rest of the time, its fine...unless there's some kind of unusual catastrophe.
Chuck-you raise an interesting perspective. I have mapquested the route and also hand calculated, not sure either one is correct, but I get a difference of 8-13 miles RT 495 VS RT 128.
(Someday I will actually clock and know for sure)
I have always had the mind set that when towing, 495 is better. When nt towing I drive 128 or right through the city-SE XPWAY to 95.
We do head up north quite often from RI so we get to experience pretty much the entire length of those roads.

We will be heading up that way again next week-maybe I will try 128, we'll see what time of day I get there.

Is a 1989 Excella really "shiny and new"?
It does tow nice, and I did not have any "big bangs" or other scary instances on 495. Never did while towing SOB's either. But then again, I have never taken 128 while towing. Maybe I am missing something.
It sure is nice to hear from others who travel these roads. Especially those who are even closer than I.

Good post-and timely too-we are going up that way many times this season!
More input appreciated!

Thanx, Bill
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Old 07-13-2006, 09:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillTex
Chuck-you raise an interesting perspective. I have mapquested the route and also hand calculated, not sure either one is correct, but I get a difference of 8-13 miles RT 495 VS RT 128.
(Someday I will actually clock and know for sure)
I have always had the mind set that when towing, 495 is better. When nt towing I drive 128 or right through the city-SE XPWAY to 95.
We do head up north quite often from RI so we get to experience pretty much the entire length of those roads.

We will be heading up that way again next week-maybe I will try 128, we'll see what time of day I get there.

Is a 1989 Excella really "shiny and new"?
It does tow nice, and I did not have any "big bangs" or other scary instances on 495. Never did while towing SOB's either. But then again, I have never taken 128 while towing. Maybe I am missing something.
It sure is nice to hear from others who travel these roads. Especially those who are even closer than I.

Good post-and timely too-we are going up that way many times this season!
More input appreciated!

Thanx, Bill
Hi BillTex,

We found some bumps and potholes when we headed "down south" on Route 495 for the Scusset Beach Rally which was held in mid June this year. But, for the most part this is our (well, my) preferred route because there are less commuters on this highway. On Route 128 we find folks don't seem to understand that we are pulling a 7500 lbs+ (fully loaded) trailer behind us and that we need more space between us and the guy in front of us to be able to stop safely. On Route 128 we've had folks cut in front of us with 2 feet to spare with the traffic ahead breaking hard - YIKES, what are these folks thinking! We cannot stop on a dime! Not that non trailer folks on Route 495 know to give us the space we need to operate safely, but there are alot less of them.
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Old 07-14-2006, 06:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillTex
...We do head up north quite often from RI so we get to experience pretty much the entire length of those roads.

We will be heading up that way again next week-maybe I will try 128, we'll see what time of day I get there...
If traveling to Maine from RI, the shortest route from RI, when not towing is:

1) 95N to 128S (go right at the 128 split to go thru Boston)
2) Go over Tobin Bridge (I think it becomes Rte 1 at some point)
3) Rte 1 to pickup 95N again in Peabody area

If towing, note propane tanks aren't allowed in the tunnels, so I found the shortest route from RI is:

1) 95N to 128N (go left at the 128 split)
2) 128N to 93N to 495N to 95N OR 128N to 95N

Note, taking 495 all the way from RI is longer because 495 swoops out to the northwest before it heads back northeast again.

I have never recorded the mileage both ways but have noted the time and it is usually 1/2 hour shorter if you avoid 495.
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Old 07-14-2006, 07:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yukionna
If traveling to Maine from RI, the shortest route from RI, when not towing is:

1) 95N to 128S (go right at the 128 split to go thru Boston)
2) Go over Tobin Bridge (I think it becomes Rte 1 at some point)
3) Rte 1 to pickup 95N again in Peabody area

If towing, note propane tanks aren't allowed in the tunnels, so I found the shortest route from RI is:

1) 95N to 128N (go left at the 128 split)
2) 128N to 93N to 495N to 95N OR 128N to 95N

Note, taking 495 all the way from RI is longer because 495 swoops out to the northwest before it heads back northeast again.

I have never recorded the mileage both ways but have noted the time and it is usually 1/2 hour shorter if you avoid 495.
I agree, 95-RT1 is the shortest when not towing.

I still believe that 495 is a little more comfortable than 128 when towing though. The extra 1/2 hr is worth it to me, I just find driving 128 much more stressfull. I try not to worry much about time when towing. As noted previously, Mapquest indicates somewhere between 8 to 13 miles difference between the 2 routes, and I feel more comfortable on 495. I can't say I noticed any particularly bad stretches either as commented above? Cetainly no worse than other roads (128).
Has anyone ever actually checked the odometer driving both of those stretches? That would be interesting...(not sure I believe the Mapquest figures, they can be WAY off sometimes!)
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Old 07-14-2006, 07:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yukionna
If traveling to Maine from RI, the shortest route from RI, when not towing is:

1) 95N to 128S (go right at the 128 split to go thru Boston)
2) Go over Tobin Bridge (I think it becomes Rte 1 at some point)
3) Rte 1 to pickup 95N again in Peabody area
Yuki, won't 95N to 128S take you west around Boston through the suburbs? I think 95N to 93N takes you through Boston and the Tobin Bridge/Rt. 1

I still prefer 495 over any of this though. In the summer you're not only going to get rush hour traffic (including travel in the breakdown lanes), you're also going to see a ton of traffic from Boston suburbanites going to the Cape, Thursday to Tuesday. Add rain and you're going to have accidents and backups every mile. A few weekends ago it took me about an hour and a half to get from 95N to Rte 225 exit using 128, about 17-18 miles, because of rain (no accidents). This was on a Saturday.
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