Even in this day of GPS and Google Maps we still ask people for the best Route. That got me thinking about the roads we use in the Hudson Valley. Having lived and worked on both sides of the Hudson River, I am familiar with a lot of the roads and the two that come to mind as the most often discussed when it comes to traveling is Route 9 vs Route 9W.

Think about it. How many times has someone traveling to and from anything in the valley asked you which side of the river should they take? Or sometimes they just ask "should I take 9 or 9W?" So let's do a side by side to see which one works best for travel up and down the Hudson Valley.

Route 9 and Route 9W can both get you from New York City to Albany. Of course, if you use 9W you will have to cross the George Washington Bridge and if you take Route 9, you'll have to cross over near Albany probably on 90. This basically means that both roads could get you anywhere in the Hudson Valley I guess.

They both travel through local towns so you can stop to see historic sights, grab a meal or just fill up your tank. That also means they both have local speed limits and lights.

You can access both of them from a lot of Hudson Valley Bridges - most importantly from the 4 biggies for those of us commuting locally - Newburgh Beacon, Mid-Hudson, Kingston Rhinecliff, and Rip Van Winkle.

So how are they different?

Route 9W travels North and South on the West side of the Hudson River. Route 9 travels North and South on the East side of the Hudson. So if you don't have to cross from one side to the other to get where you are going you would most likely use the one on the side you are on.

Route 9W is 141.8 miles long stretching from New Jersey at the GWB and heading north to Albany. Route 9 is almost 4 times longer stretching from Laurel, DE to Lake Champlain, NY a whopping 522.7 miles. So I guess Route 9 might take you farther.

Route 9W was constructed in 1926 whereas Route 9 is a year younger having been established in 1927. So in theory 9W is more historic.

So which one is better?

My answer to which road you should take Route 9 or 9W?  "It depends on where you need to go!"