Over the years I have traveled on interstates 295 and 95 — the Maine Turnpike — quite often. I think there are two main reasons why there is such an increase in traffic on I-295, thus contributing to more accidents.

First, people who travel the entire length of I-295 between Portland and points north of Gardiner use I-295 instead of I-95 because it is seven miles shorter. If you travel the speed limit, you save about 5 minutes but travel on a more congested road. Most of the time, there is much less volume on I-95.

Second, the tolls on I-95 from Portland to north of Gardiner are $4, as opposed to $2.75 if you travel the entire length of I-295, a savings of just $1.25, less if you have an E-ZPass and sign up for the commuter rate.

With the completion of the high speed E-ZPass lanes on I-95 in Gray and West Gardiner, there is no slowing down at toll booths. Also, most of the trip is 70 mph. The speed limit is being reduced now on I-295, however. Because of that and the additional traffic on I-295, any advantage given to the shorter route is erased.

So if the Maine Turnpike Authority would make the tolls the same price for traveling on I-295 and I-95, I think more people would opt for the trip on I-95.

Plus, the Maine Turnpike Authority does a great job during the winter with snow removal, as opposed to Department of Transportation on I-295, so it is a safer trip.

Donald Fournier


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