Bypass Chicago: Best Route To Avoid Chicago Traffic

If it isn’t traffic… then it may be construction. When you get around the larger cities, it may be possible to avoid one but not the other. When you ask people for the best route be prepared to sort through at least a dozen different opinions on which is the best route to take.

The best route will depend on the direction you are heading. One suggestion was when you are heading east go from I-90 to 290 then head south till 290 connects to 294. Continue south till it turns into I-80 and then follow I-80 till you are in Gary or other eastern Lake Michigan communities.

To learn more routes, just continue to read our article. It will present more options for you to choose from. The route you take will depend a lot on your destination. Some people have suggested taking the ferry across but, that may be as expensive as the tolls.

Chicago Bypass Options


Again, this will depend on your destination. If you are headed to New Jersey, then one option would be- I-90 to Rockford, then get on the I-39 and go to Bloomington followed by merging into I-74 to Indianapolis and finally getting on the I-70 for the rest of your journey.

This should avoid most of the toll roads. When looking at a road map, I-80 is the southernmost highway you can take if you want to stay near Chicago. If your destination is in Michigan, it may be best to go over the Mackinaw bridge.

That would mean taking either Highway 2 or 28 to I-75 and then heading south. Some people heading west, take the state highways and avoid the Interstates due to tolls and construction.

They use US 24 out of Fort Wayne and then connect to the I-39 once they are in Rockford. Others say to take the Eden expressway to US 41 and that will also avoid tolls. Although you will have stoplights to deal with.

The Best Route To Avoid Chicago


Again, this will depend on the time of day. We have found that if you travel on Sunday as well as before 5 a.m. between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and after 10 p.m., on other days, those will be your best traveling times.

If you do not mind paying tolls, the best road near Chicago and still bypass the traffic will be the I-294. It is supposed to be less traffic here unless there is an accident or there is construction taking place.

We have looked at the road maps about the highway system and it can get confusing. If you have no reason to stop in Chicago and you do not mind a detour then head as far south as possible or go as far north above Milwaukee as possible.

Then take the highways that avoid everything to do with those two cities. A good road map will help you find the best route to take. Watch out for the toll roads as it is said to be a total of $5 to Milwaukee and $7 to Madison.

Chicago Bypass Map


The best we can do for this topic is to provide a compressed image of the surrounding area around Chicago. This image should show you all the possible routes you can take to avoid this city.

If you do not want to take I-80 on the southern side, you can try State highway 30. That will get you to Joliet going west and to I-69 past South Bend. Then when in Joliet, you can connect with the I-80 again to continue your trip west.

If you want to go north after Joliet, then you can take State Highway 31. Use the map below to help you plan your route according to your destination and direction.

What is The Best Time To Drive Through Chicago To Avoid Traffic?


The first thing you need to do is avoid rush hour. It seems to start early in that city. The morning rush hour times you need to avoid will be between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.

The afternoon rush hour time will be after 2 p.m. and until about 10 p.m. The early afternoon may not be as bad, between 2 and 5 p.m. but the recommended time to drive through Chicago is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. during the day.

After 10 p.m. is the best time to drive through the city at night. You will have a 7-hour window over night to get past the city. Most likely, almost all the interstates should be free of traffic during those hours.

Then probably early Saturday morning may be a good time to drive through the area. Finally, Sunday is the best day for travel if you do not want to get stuck in traffic. However, the toll roads are in effect at all times so be prepared to pay some money.

We have been told that exact change is not needed at those toll booths.

How To Avoid Chicago Traffic


The best way is to plan carefully. There are a lot of good non-interstate roads you can try that will take you close to the city but far enough away that you may avoid a lot of the traffic problems related to Chicago.

If you do not have to be in the city area at all, then drive as far south as possible and avoid the area altogether. We would also recommend driving over the Mackinaw Bridge, but not every driver can handle that driving situation.

Some Final Words

When you get close to big cities then traffic can be a big problem. Your schedule is slowed and you may end up in an accident. Finding alternative routes is not that hard to do.

You just need a good road map and know how to read it. Those road maps are better than GPS and will help you find some very scenic routes to travel as well as keep your stress down.

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