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Scott
06-24-2017, 02:20 PM
I'm planning on driving from Minneapolis to South Bend sometime in about 2 weeks and I have vivid memories from the 1980s of how bad the toll roads are around Chicago. Can anyone tell me the fastest, or cheapest way to get through Chicago from Wisconsin to South Bend? How much should I plan on wasting (I mean spending) on the tolls? Is it best to have quarters or can bills be used? I'd rather not use a debit card or a credit card. I dread Chicago.

Would I be far off to think it could cost me $30-$40 to get through Chicago? When is the best time of day to try to get through starting from Wisconsin? I'm not sure right now if I'll be going from Madison to South Bend or Milwaukee to South Bend. The responses here might help me decide.

Thanks!

Champ51
06-24-2017, 05:23 PM
We've driven the Twin Cities to Northern Indiana jaunt countless times because both our sons attended college in northern Indiana. The best way (not the cheapest) was to take the ferry from Manitowoc Wi to Ludington Mi and then drive down the east side of Lake Michigan. It made for a longer, more expensive, but far more enjoyable trip.

Most of the time, we were hustling and we found it best to bite the bullet and just drive right through the heart of Chicago around 10PM for the least amount of traffic. Once on I-90 in Wisconsin, we wouldn't get off until South Bend. Hopefully, someone from Chicago will respond with current news, especially about the Skyway.

An I-Pass box might make your trip cheaper and definitely faster. The tollway authority used to charge half price to I-Pass users. Don't know if they still charge less.

Scott
06-24-2017, 06:27 PM
Thanks! That's a start. I always consider the ferry until I look at the price to get across. I think it was over $100 back in the 1980s. But 10pm in the Chicago area would get my into SB probably pretty late. I'm not sure if I ought to reserve a room before I go or just try my luck when I pull in. By the way, are there any good rooms under $80-$90 a night around SB in July, do you think?

Milaca
06-24-2017, 09:57 PM
I go south of Madison until I get to highway 80 (near LaSalle Illinois) which heads east and takes you to South Bend. It is a bit longer distance as it goes around Chicago, but the traffic flows well and only one toll to pay in Illinois and one toll to pay in Indiana (perhaps there is an additional toll that I have forgotten?). Forgot how much I paid out for tolls, but I think it was under $20 total, going out and return while pulling a tandem axel trailer each way. As for motel, you can save a bunch by booking ahead of time through a website such as Expedia.

BobWaitz
06-24-2017, 10:38 PM
We go every year from Minneapolis for the May swap meet. In general we take 94 to Madison, then 90 to Rockford where we pick up 39 South. We take that to 80 to where it meets up with 90 and 94 near Gary. This is not the quickest route but it avoids toll roads as much as is practical and goes around Chicago. Depending on the time of day you can take 90 all the way to 294 and take 94 from there. We only do that if we're hitting Chicago off-peak, like 8PM to 4AM or 10AM to 3PM. The drive is just fine. It's the 3 hours spent going through Chicago and Gary that sucks. I honestly can't remember what the tolls cost but they are a total rip-off. If you have the pass that lets you avoid the toll booths it costs half.

DieselJim
06-24-2017, 10:59 PM
Just came across I80. At route 51, about the 20 mile marker in In. there is a right lane closer. Made for a big back up at 5pm on Friday. Stay on I94 to exit 40. Route 2- 20 to South Bend. No tolls.

Milaca
06-24-2017, 11:06 PM
Scott, I forgot to mention that I paid all of my tolls with cash.

Scott
06-24-2017, 11:08 PM
This is great! Thank you all for your advice!!:)
Are there any hotels in SB I should definitely avoid?

Scott
06-24-2017, 11:17 PM
Exit 40 is in Indiana?

Just came across I80. At route 51, about the 20 mile marker in In. there is a right lane closer. Made for a big back up at 5pm on Friday. Stay on I94 to exit 40. Route 2- 20 to South Bend. No tolls.

DieselJim
06-25-2017, 07:10 AM
Exit 40 is in Indiana?
Yes. Don't get on the toll road I80. Stay on I94 past Michigan City.

BobWaitz
06-25-2017, 07:36 AM
This is great! Thank you all for your advice!!:)
Are there any hotels in SB I should definitely avoid?
Yes. Yes there are. I once stayed in the South Bend motel for $40 a night. I overpaid. Generally if you go to the east side of town near Notre Dame the motels are very nice because they have to cater to the parents and alumni of the University.

Colgate Studebaker
06-25-2017, 10:00 AM
I travel to Wisconsin often (Milwaukee area mostly) and depending on time of day we will go straight through downtown (usually heavy traffic no matter when, but real bad at peak hours),but we also will go to the west on I74 to I39 and I90. If you are coming from the western part of Wisconsin, I agree that to take I90 south from Madison to I39 south and pick up I80 heading east is a good route. Less traffic and only a few tolls. I also agree that staying on I94 (I80 merges into I94 at Chicago) going east vs. staying on I80 (Indiana toll road), is a better option. Getting off I94 in the Michigan City area and heading into South Bend is not difficult at all. In May we stayed in Niles Michigan (Holiday Inn Express), but there are several hotels in the South Bend area that are very good. Hope this helps you, Bill.

Green53
06-25-2017, 11:04 AM
I-80/90 in Indiana was closed when heading to SB in May. It may be open by now. We took I-94 toward Michigan City about 20 miles or so and got off at Hwy 20 direct into SB.

Denny L

Hawkowner
06-25-2017, 01:15 PM
I travel that way from time to time And have the Eazy Pass saves time and about %25 . Cost you nothing for transmitter.
Hawkowner

Scott
06-25-2017, 01:19 PM
Well, I knew this would be right group to ask about this! I wonder how I can get an Eazy Pass before I leave Minneapolis? I'll have to look it up.