The Value of Maps: Avoiding the Delaware Turnpike


Just as we get to summertime and the beach season, the inevitable treks to the Jersey Shore (Snooki-repellent in hand) and Atlantic City, as well as out to Maryland comes an excellent reminder about turnpikes. I grew up in the American Wests, where only bridges could incur tolls. The rest of the roads were glorious freeways, and not the turnpikes of the East. Was I born, perhaps, with a strangely jiggered opinion of toll roads? Perhaps I was.

If you’re as cheap as I am, Slate has an awesome hand-drawn map on how to avoid the Delaware Turnpike and the bullshit $4 that it costs to go just scant miles. So if you, like me, wish to say to Delaware, “I do not care for your toll policies, you scallywags!” then click through and get the whole map, which will show you just how to avoid that blasted toll gate.

I live and work in the District of Columbia. I write at We Love DC, a blog I helped start, I work at Technolutionary, a company I helped start, and I’m happy doing both. I enjoy watching baseball, cooking, and gardening. I grow a mean pepper, keep a clean scorebook, and wash the dishes when I’m done. Read Why I Love DC.

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6 thoughts on “The Value of Maps: Avoiding the Delaware Turnpike

  1. Of course, there’s also that evil $5 toll on I-95 north when you cross the Susquehanna River into Cecil County, MD. Where’s the map for that?

  2. My family has been using this short cut for as long as I can remember. We usually stop at the shopping center shown on the map as the Acme there is the closest place my Dad can get the brand of scrapple he likes. Yes, my Dad has a favorite brand of scrapple. And yes, scrapple is awesome.

  3. Yep, old shortcut that does not do anything to address the real issue– it is virtually impossible to make it from the Delaware Memorial Bridge to exit 1B most Sundays any more, especially in the summer. It can take 45 minutes to get from the bridge toll through the DE turnpike toll. I wouldn’t object to the $4 if they could just keep the traffic moving through that damnable 12 mile stretch of 95.

    I have been doing the DC/ NJ drive 6 times per year for about 18 years and I don’t think I have the words to describe how much I loathe DE. I have even started taking the train to Philly and renting a car just so I don’t have to drive 95 in DE.

  4. Nicole is right. Even if you go around the damn toll plaza, the rest of 95 in Delaware isn’t much better. It’s a huge waste of time. I’ve driven DC->RI and back quite a few times, and although there are some slowdowns in NJ and CT, nothing compares to DE.

  5. I have slowed down in recent years. Call me an old curmudgeon, but I literally take the road less traveled and I arrive much less stressed-out as a result.

    Don’t scoff, but consider a “long cut” that (almost) completely bypasses the D.C.-BAL-WLM congestion. Head east, young man, head east out U.S. 50 and up U.S. 301 to Middletown, DE. Then cut over to Odessa, DE and get on the upgraded DE Route 1 northbound. Where U.S. 13 diverges, take it to I-295 where you find yourself about a mile from the twin span toll plaza.

    Yes, there are traffic signals and fully half the trip is not on your comfy Interstate highway system. BUT! There are pleasant rural views and the time you could be spending gnashing your teeth and cursing the drivers around you and DELDOT is better spent on a comparatively enjoyable drive. Obviously, it gets more congested as you approach the Wilmington sprawl. The timing of your trip can make a huge difference.

    If you really want to mix things up, head to Lewes and take the ferry across to Cape May. That route is left as an exercise to the reader.