Interstate 95 in Maine

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Interstate 95

Map
I-95 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by MaineDOT and MTA
Length305.00 mi[1] (490.85 km)
Existed1956–present
NHSEntire route
Major junctions
South end
I-95 Toll / Blue Star Turnpike in Portsmouth, NH
Major intersections
North end Route 95 / US 2 at the Houlton–Woodstock Border Crossing
Location
CountryUnited States
StateMaine
CountiesYork, Cumberland, Androscoggin, Kennebec, Somerset, Waldo, Penobscot, Aroostook
Highway system
SR 94 SR 95

Interstate 95 (I-95) is a part of the Interstate Highway System that runs north–south from Miami, Florida to Houlton, Maine. The highway enters Maine from the New Hampshire state line in Kittery and runs for 303 miles (488 km) to the Canadian border in Houlton. It is the only primary Interstate Highway in Maine. In 2004, the highway's route between Portland and Gardiner was changed so that it encompasses the entire Maine Turnpike (including the former I-495 between Falmouth and Gardiner), a toll road running from Kittery to Augusta.

Route description

Entering Maine from New Hampshire on the Piscataqua River Bridge
Northbound in Kittery

I-95 enters Maine as a six-lane highway from New Hampshire on the Piscataqua River Bridge, which connects Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with Kittery. At mile 0.38, the highway becomes the Maine Turnpike. The highway runs in a general northeasterly direction, parallel with US Route 1 (US 1), at this point. I-95 bypasses the Biddeford/Saco area, with a spur route, I-195, connecting to Old Orchard Beach.

At Scarborough, I-95 meets the southern terminus of I-295 and narrows to four lanes. The highway turns north, serving Portland International Jetport and bypassing Portland to the west. At Falmouth, the highway meets unsigned I-495, also called the Falmouth Spur. Until January 2004, I-95 followed the Falmouth Spur and I-295 between Falmouth and Gardiner.

Interstate 495

LocationPortlandWest Gardiner
Length50.38 mi (81.08 km)
Existed1988–2004
NHSEntire route

The highway continues north along the Maine Turnpike (which was I-495 prior to 2004) through Gray to Auburn and Lewiston, which the turnpike bypasses to the south. The highway then runs in an easterly direction to meet the northern terminus of I-295 at Gardiner. From there, I-95 parallels the Kennebec River past Augusta and Waterville. The highway then crosses the river at Fairfield and then turns northeast along the Sebasticook River past Pittsfield to Newport.

I-95 then continues east alongside US 2 from Newport to Bangor, where I-395 connects to the city of Brewer. The highway runs along the northern edge of Bangor's center, then turns northeast, following the Penobscot River past Orono and Old Town. (Prior to the early 1980s, I-95 was a super two highway north of Old Town).

The highway continues north, still running near the river, toward Howland. Near Lincoln, I-95 runs north through uninhabited forest land, crossing the Penobscot River at Medway. The highway goes northeast and east, passing a series of small Aroostook County farming towns before reaching Houlton, where it connects to US 2 and New Brunswick Route 95 at the international border. North of Bangor, traffic levels drop noticeably, with an annual average daily traffic of only about 5,000 in northern Penobscot County and going down to as low as 2,000 to 4,000 in Houlton.[2] As an Interstate Highway, all of I-95 in Maine is included in the National Highway System, a network of roads important to the country's economy, defense, and mobility.[3]

History

Maine Turnpike

LocationKitteryAugusta
Length107.222 mi[4] (172.557 km)
Existed1947–present
Early postcard showing entrance at Kittery

The Maine Turnpike Authority (MTA) was created by the Maine Legislature in 1941 to build and operate a toll highway connecting Kittery and Fort Kent. In 1947, the first section of highway, designated the Maine Turnpike, opened between Kittery and Portland. In 1953, the MTA began construction on an extension to the state capital at Augusta using the former right-of-way of the Portland–Lewiston Interurban railway from Portland through West Falmouth.[5] The original turnpike was the largest construction project in the state's history until the construction of the extension, which opened to the public on December 13, 1955.[6]

The Maine Turnpike was the first highway in the nation that was funded using revenue bonds. It remains self-financed and does not receive funding from the state or federal government. When the first section opened in 1947, it was only the second long-distance superhighway in the US following the October 1940 opening of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. For these reasons, the Maine Turnpike was named a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1999.[7]

In 1956, one year after the Portland–Augusta extension opened, Congress created the Interstate Highway System. The remaining sections to be built—from Augusta to Fort Kent—would be publicly funded freeways instead of toll roads under the MTA. Today, this highway, which ends at Houlton instead of Fort Kent, is signed as I-95 throughout and the Maine Turnpike between the New Hampshire line at Kittery and the junction with US 202 near Augusta.

In 2015, the MTA purchased the segment from the Piscataqua River Bridge to milemarker 2.2 of I-95 from the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT).

Speed limits

The Maine Turnpike had a posted speed limit of 70 mph (110 km/h) in the early 1970s, but, as Maine then had no law against traveling less than 10 mph (16 km/h) over the posted limit, the de facto speed limit was 79 mph (127 km/h). In 1974, as part of a federal mandate, the speed limit was reduced to 55 mph (89 km/h), with a new law including a "less than 10 over" violation. In 1987, Congress allowed states to post 65 mph (105 km/h) on rural Interstate Highways. Following the relaxation, Maine increased its speed limit. In May 2011, a bill was introduced to raise the speed limit on I-95 from Old Town to Houlton from 65 to 75 mph (105 to 121 km/h). It passed, with Maine the first state east of the Mississippi River since the 1970s to establish a 75-mile-per-hour (121 km/h) speed limit.[8][9]

A further law passed in 2013 by the Maine Legislature allowed MaineDOT and the MTA to change speed limits with the approval of the Maine State Police. Per that law, MaineDOT increased the 65-mile-per-hour (105 km/h) limit to 70 mph (110 km/h) on several sections of I-95 on May 27, 2014. These areas included the section from milemarker 114 just outside Augusta to mile 126 just before Waterville. In addition, the section from Fairfield (just north of Waterville) to Bangor also saw an increase to 70 mph (110 km/h).[10] Speed limits on sections controlled by the MTA increased on August 11, 2014. The sections from milemarker 2.1 in Kittery to milemarker 44.1 in Scarborough and the section from milemarker 52.3 in Falmouth to milemarker 109 in Augusta increased from 65 to 70 mph (105 to 113 km/h). The section from milemarker 44.1 in Scarborough to milemarker 52.3 in Falmouth increased from 55 to 60 mph (89 to 97 km/h).[11]

Tolls

Early postcard of tollbooths at Kittery

The Maine Turnpike is a toll road for all of its length except south of York and between Auburn and Sabattus. Flat-fee tolls are paid upon entering the turnpike and at toll barriers in York, New Gloucester, and West Gardiner. As of November 1, 2021, it costs passenger vehicles $8.00 with cash and out-of-state E-ZPasses and $6.70 with a Maine issued E-ZPass to travel the entire length of the turnpike.[12] The turnpike joined the E-ZPass electronic toll collection network in 2005, replacing the former Maine-only system designated Transpass that was implemented in 1997.[13]

The tolls on the Maine Turnpike were not supposed to be permanent. Toll collections were to stop once the MTA paid off the debt from the road's construction. In the 1980s, the bonds were going to be paid off, but the Maine Legislature authorized the MTA in 1982 to continue as a quasigovernmental agency and to continue to collect tolls in order to fund the maintenance of the section of highway controlled by the MTA.[14]

Service plazas and rest areas

There are eleven total rest areas on I-95 in Maine, five of which are full service plazas operated by the MTA. Five of the rest areas are accessible from northbound only, four are accessible from southbound only, and two are accessible from both directions. The rest stops are open 24 hours and all provide restrooms and visitor information. Food and fuel services as well as ATMs are available only at the five major plazas. The plazas are at the following locations:

  • Kennebunk: A separate plaza is located on each direction of the turnpike at milepost 25. These plazas are the largest and most profitable in the state, and they have near-identical layouts and each includes Burger King, Starbucks, Hershey's Ice Cream, Citgo gas stations, and Z-Market giftshops among the offerings. The original plazas opened in 1947 and incorporated a pedestrian tunnel under the highway to connect the two. These original plazas were replaced in 1972, and the tunnel was sealed. The 1972 plazas were then replaced during 2006–2007, reopening in 2007.
  • Gray (northbound) and Cumberland (southbound): A separate plaza is located on each direction of the turnpike on either side of the Gray–Cumberland town line at milepost 59. Each includes Burger King (both sit-down and drive-thru) and a Citgo gas station. Both plazas were rebuilt in 2007 and are currently the only two plazas to feature a drive-thru food option.
  • West Gardiner: Accessible from both directions of both the turnpike (I-95) and I-295, which converge just north of the plaza. The plaza itself is located just off the highways, along State Route 9 (SR 9) and SR 126. Similar in layout to the Kennebunk plazas, Burger King, Starbucks, and Citgo gas are among the offerings. This plaza also includes the Center for Maine Craft, a giftshop featuring locally made products and visitor information. The West Gardiner plaza was built and opened for business in 2008. The plaza replaced two smaller rest areas that were located in Lewiston (southbound at milepost 83) and Litchfield (northbound at milepost 98), both of which were closed and demolished.

There is a rest area and tourist welcome center located on the turnpike northbound at milepost 3 in Kittery. There are weigh stations located on the turnpike northbound and southbound in York at milepost 4 (southbound) and milepost 6 (northbound). There are ramps to and from the northbound turnpike to the Saco Ramada Hotel and Conference Center in Saco at milepost 35.[15] The ramps are from the original exit 5 which was replaced when I-195 was opened just to the north. The hotel was built on the site of the old toll plaza. Ramps connecting the hotel to and from the southbound turnpike were removed as part of the widening project in the early 2000s when hotel ownership opted not to pay nearly $1 million (equivalent to $1.49 million in 2022[16]) to build a new bridge. The MTA is planning to reestablish the exit at this location by 2022 in order to relieve traffic congestion at the intersection of I-195 and Industrial Park Road, which can often back up to I-95.[17]

North of Augusta, there are two additional pairs of rest areas before I-95's northern terminus in Houlton. Separate facilities are located on each direction of I-95 in Hampden, just south of Bangor; and in Medway, about halfway between Bangor and Houlton. There are 24-hour restrooms at all four locations, while the Hampden facilities each feature a state-operated Maine information center available during daytime hours. A final rest area, which also contained a state-operated Maine information center, was located in Houlton, and was accessible from both directions of I-95 by taking exit 302. The rest area has since been decommissioned and demolished as of mid-2022.

Emergency routes

Emergency route sign on US 2 in Veazie

In 2019, MaineDOT began signing emergency routes along roads near I-95. The routes generally lead from one exit to the next exit and are meant to be used when sections of the highway must be closed due to an accident or other disruption. In such an event, electronic signs will be activated and flaggers deployed to direct drivers to use the appropriate emergency route to lead them around the closure and maintain traffic flow. Northbound routes are designated with a single letter, while southbound routes are designated with double letters. This system was first used when a section of highway was closed due to the death of a Maine State Trooper in an accident.[18]

Exit list

CountyLocation[19]mi[19]kmExitDestinationsNotes
Piscataqua River0.000.00


I-95 Toll south / Blue Star Turnpike south – Portsmouth, Boston
Continuation into New Hampshire; southern terminus of Maine Turnpike
YorkKittery0.621.001
To SR 103 – Eliot, Kittery Foreside, Navy Yard
Northbound exit and southbound entrance
1.242.002
US 1 / SR 236 / US 1 Byp. – South Berwick, Kittery
Southbound signage



US 1 south / SR 236 south / US 1 Byp. – Kittery Center, Memorial Circle
Northbound signage
3

US 1 north / SR 236 north – Kittery, South Berwick
York6.7910.937

To SR 91 / US 1 – York, Ogunquit, Kittery
Ogunquit only appears on northbound signage; Kittery only appears on southbound signage
8.8014.16York Toll Barrier (southern end of closed toll system)
Wells19.0030.5819
SR 9 / SR 109 to US 1 – Wells, Sanford, Ogunquit
Northbound entrance toll. Sanford only appears on northbound signage, Ogunquit only appears on southbound signage
Kennebunk25.0140.2525
SR 35 to US 1 – Kennebunk, Kennebunkport
Entrance toll
Biddeford31.0950.0332
SR 111 to US 1 – Biddeford, Arundel, Sanford
Entrance toll; Sanford only appears on southbound signage; Arundel only appears on northbound signage
Saco3556Hotel and Conference Center (No other access)Northbound exit and entrance only; former exit to SR 112 (currently in development with construction slated to begin in 2022-2023 with completion in 2025, subject to available funding.[17][20])
35.2056.6536
I-195 east – Saco, Old Orchard Beach
Entrance toll
CumberlandScarborough41.9067.4342

To US 1 / SR 114 – Scarborough, Gorham
Entrance toll
43.5170.0244
I-295 north – Downtown Portland
Northbound exit and southbound entrance; toll
South Portland44.2471.2045


To I-295 / US 1 / SR 114 / Maine Mall Road – South Portland
Entrance toll; I-295 only appears on southbound signage
Portland45.6473.4546

To SR 22 (Congress Street) / SR 9 – Jetport
Entrance toll
46.6575.0847 SR 25 (Rand Road / Westbrook Arterial)Entrance toll
47.8376.9748

To SR 25 / US 302 / Riverside Street / Larrabee Road
Entrance toll
50.8781.8752

To I-295 / US 1 – Falmouth, Freeport
Toll on the Falmouth Spur
Falmouth51.6283.0753 SR 26 / SR 100 – Falmouth, CumberlandEntrance toll
Gray62.33100.3163
US 202 / SR 115 / SR 4 to SR 26 – Gray, Windham
Southbound entrance toll
New Gloucester66.03106.26New Gloucester Toll Barrier (northern end of closed toll system)
AndroscogginAuburn74.17119.3775 US 202 / SR 4 / SR 100 – Auburn
Lewiston79.11127.3280
To SR 196 – Lewiston
Sabattus84.91136.6586 SR 9 – Sabattus, Lisbon
KennebecWest Gardiner98.74158.91West Gardiner Toll Barrier
100.50161.74102

SR 9 / SR 126 to I-295 south – Gardiner, Litchfield
Northbound exit and southbound entrance; access to a Turnpike service plaza
101.25162.95103
I-295 south / SR 9 / SR 126 – Gardiner, Brunswick
Southbound exit and northbound entrance; toll; access to a Turnpike service plaza
Augusta108.09173.95109 US 202 / SR 11 / SR 17 / SR 100 – Winthrop, Augusta, Airport

Maine Turnpike ends
Signed as exits 109A (east) and 109B (west) southbound; northern terminus of Maine Turnpike
110.57177.95112 SR 8 / SR 11 / SR 27 – Augusta, BelgradeSigned as Exits 112A (south) and 112B (north) northbound
111.43179.33113 SR 3 – Augusta, Belfast
Sidney119.02191.54120Lyons Road – Sidney
Waterville122.92197.82124Trafton RoadOpened July 14, 2017
125.72202.33127 SR 11 / SR 137 – Waterville, Oakland
128.79207.27130 SR 104 (Main Street) – Waterville, WinslowWinslow only appears on southbound signage
SomersetFairfield130.84210.57132 SR 139 – Fairfield, Benton
131.87212.22133 US 201 – Fairfield, Skowhegan
KennebecClinton136.46219.61138Hinckley Road – Clinton, Burnham
WaldoNo major intersections
SomersetPittsfield148.34238.73150Somerset Avenue – Pittsfield, Hartland, BurnhamHartland only appears on northbound signage; Burnham only appears on southbound signage
Palmyra155.27249.88157

SR 11 / SR 100 to SR 7 / US 2 – Newport, Dexter, Skowhegan
SR 7 and Dexter only appear on northbound signage; US 2 and Skowhegan only appears on southbound signage
PenobscotNewport157.18252.96159Ridge Road – Newport, PlymouthSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
Plymouth159.45256.61161 SR 7 – East Newport, Plymouth
Etna165.42266.22167 SR 69 / SR 143 – Etna, Dixmont
Newburgh172.20277.13174 SR 69 – Carmel, Winterport
Hampden178.12286.66180Cold Brook Road – Hermon, Hampden
Bangor180.89291.11182A


I-395 / SR 15 south to US 1A / SR 9 – Bangor, Brewer
Southern end of concurrency with SR 15; Exit 1 on I-395
182B



To US 2 west / SR 100 west – Hermon
181.76292.51183 US 2 / SR 100 (Hammond Street) – Airport
182.61293.88184 SR 222 (Union Street) / Ohio Street – AirportOhio Street only appears on southbound signage
183.82295.83185

SR 15 north (Broadway) / SR 15 Bus. – Bangor, Brewer
Northern end of concurrency with SR 15; SR 15 Bus., Bangor, and Brewer only appear on southbound signage
184.95297.65186Stillwater AvenueNo northbound entrance; access to Bangor Mall
185.73298.90187Hogan Road – Bangor, Veazie
Orono189.20304.49191Kelly Road – Orono, VeazieOrono only appears on northbound signage; Veazie only appears on southbound signage
191.37307.98193Stillwater Avenue – Stillwater, Old Town, OronoOld Town only appears on northbound signage; Orono only appears on southbound signage
Old Town195.38314.43197 SR 43 – Old Town, Hudson
197.86318.42199 SR 16 – Alton, Lagrange, MiloNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
Howland214.97345.96217 SR 6 / SR 155 – Howland, Lagrange
Chester225.74363.29227


To US 2 / SR 6 / SR 116 – Lincoln, Mattawamkeag
Mattawamkeag only appears on northbound signage
Medway242.66390.52244 SR 157 – Medway, Millinocket, MattawamkeagMedway only appears on northbound signage; Mattawamkeag only appears on southbound signage
PenobscotAroostook
county line
North PenobscotBenedicta line257.18413.89259BenedictaNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
PenobscotNo major intersections
AroostookSherman262.43422.34264
SR 158 to SR 11 – Sherman, Patten
Patten only appears on northbound signage
Island Falls274.10441.12276 SR 159 – Island Falls, PattenPatten only appears on southbound signage
Oakfield283.95456.97286Oakfield Road – Oakfield, Smyrna Mills
Smyrna289.42465.78291 US 2 – Smyrna
Houlton300.05482.88302 US 1 – Houlton, Presque Isle
302.93487.52305 US 2 – Houlton International Airport, Houlton Industrial ParkLast USA exit and Houlton International Airport only appears on northbound signage; eastern terminus of US 2
303.12487.82 Route 95 east to Route 2 – WoodstockContinuation beyond Houlton–Woodstock Border Crossing into New Brunswick
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Auxiliary routes

References

  1. ^ Starks, Edward (January 27, 2022). "Table 1: Main Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways". FHWA Route Log and Finder List. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved January 1, 2023.
  2. ^ "Interstate 95 Annual Average Daily Traffic". Interstate-Guide. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  3. ^ Natzke, Stefan; Neathery, Mike & Adderly, Kevin (September 26, 2012). "What is the National Highway System?". National Highway System. Federal Highway Administration. Archived from the original on August 28, 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  4. ^ "Welcome to the Maine Turnpike Authority". Maine Turnpike Authority. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  5. ^ Cummings, Osmond Richard. "Portland-Lewiston Interurban: a history of the finest electric interurban railway to run in the State of Maine". Bangor Public Library. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
  6. ^ "History". Maine Turnpike Authority.
  7. ^ "Maine Turnpike". Archived from the original on June 2, 2013.
  8. ^ Miller, Kevin (May 12, 2011). "Bill would boost speed limit to 75 mph on northern highway". Bangor Daily News. Archived from the original on July 15, 2012. Retrieved May 22, 2011.
  9. ^ Miller, Kevin (June 28, 2011). "Lawmakers OK 75-mph speed limit between Old Town, Houlton". The Bangor Daily News. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  10. ^ Koenig, Paul (May 27, 2014). "Speed limit increasing by 5 mph on parts of I-295, I-95". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  11. ^ "Turnpike News: Travel Advisories". Turnpike Traveler Services (Press release). Maine Turnpike Authority. Archived from the original on October 2, 2014. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  12. ^ "Tolls". Maine Turnpike Authority. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  13. ^ "FAQs". ezpassmaineturnpike.com. Maine Turnpike Authority. Retrieved January 1, 2023.
  14. ^ Stone, Matthew (June 12, 2012). "Keep the change: Toll highways aren't going away". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved January 1, 2023.
  15. ^ "Ramada Saco / Old Orchard Beach Area (official site)". Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  16. ^ Johnston, Louis; Williamson, Samuel H. (2023). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved December 19, 2023. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the Measuring Worth series.
  17. ^ a b "New interchange on Maine Turnpike is planned to ease commuter traffic in Saco". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  18. ^ Eesha Pendharkar (September 4, 2019). "Those emergency route signs around town? They come with specific instructions". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  19. ^ a b Maine Department of Transportation. MaineDOT Public Map Viewer (Map). Maine Department of Transportation. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  20. ^ "Saco Interchange Improvements (Exit 35 & 36)". Maine Turnpike Authority. Retrieved July 10, 2021.

External links


Interstate 95
Previous state:
New Hampshire
Maine Next state:
Terminus