Anyone who travels between Newburgh and Poughkeepsie has had to make the tough decision between using the Mid-Hudson or Newburgh/Beacon Bridge, but which route is actually quicker?

If you're traveling up and down the Hudson River you have a choice of two major roads. Route 9W runs north and south on the west side of the river and Route 9 follows the same path on the east side.

Hudson Valley travelers have their own reasons for taking either route, claiming their way is the fastest. But which road is really quicker?

Arguments for Route 9W

Jackie Corley, TSM
Jackie Corley, TSM

Those who choose 9W point out that the road has far fewer traffic lights. While this is true, 9W does have a major drawback. For much of the journey between Poughkeepsie and Newburgh, the road is just one lane. While there are two breaks with "double lanes" approaching Marlboro, if you're unable to jockey for a good position you could easily get stuck behind a slow-moving truck that will slow your route considerably.

Many believe Route 9 is the way to go

Google Maps
Google Maps

Those who choose to take Route 9 and 9D between Poughkeepsie and Newburgh swear by the fact that Route 9 has several lanes of traffic, making it much easy to pass slow vehicles and keep moving. This is certainly true. However, there are significantly more traffic lights on Route 9, which during peak times could slow you down.

So which route is best?

It turns out the actual traveling distance on both roads is virtually identical. If you start your journey in Highland and want to go across the river and south to Beacon, taking Route 9W is 18.8 miles. The same trip on Route 9 and 9D is 18.9 miles.

While taking either route will cause you to drive the same exact distance, Google Maps claims that your trip on Route 9W will be two minutes shorter. It clocks the 9W journey at 34 minutes and Route 9 to 9D at 36 minutes. But wait, before you jump in your car and head down through Marlboro, you should realize that depending on the time or day, construction on the Newburgh/Beacon bridge could considerably slow your trip. Add that to the possibility of getting stuck by an old lady on the one-lane stretch near Balmville and you could easily lose those two extra minutes.

Basically, it all comes down to luck. If you take 9 and luck out at a couple of lights you're going to get there quicker. If you take 9W and are able to get in front of a slower-moving vehicle, you'll probably save a minute or two. But in the end, it really doesn't matter which route you take. If you're like me, you'll regret whatever decision you make after inevitably being stuck in traffic anyway.

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