Maine Road Network

By | October 13, 2022

I-295 at Downtown Portland.

I-95 at Falmouth.

Maine has a fairly dense road network in the south, but very few roads in the north and east. There is one major highway, Interstate 95, whose northern end is the quietest highway in the United States. I-95 is a toll road between the New Hampshire border and the capital Augusta. There are several US Highways, but the underlying road network is very thin, especially in the border region with Quebec. Despite the long border, there are only 2 larger border crossings. With New Brunswick there are some more border crossings because the area on both sides of the border is more densely populated.

  • Bittranslators: State overview of Maine, including geography, economy, population and history as well as introduction to major cities of Maine.

Road management

The state highway authority is the Maine Department of Transportation, abbreviated MaineDOT or MDOT. MaineDOT operates approximately 29,000 lane miles and 2,919 bridges. A relatively large share of all roads in the state is managed by MaineDOT.

MaineDOT has its origins in the State Highway Commission that was established in 1913. In 1972 this merged into the larger Maine Department of Transportation. The role of the state in transport has expanded to include railway lines, public transport, airports and ferry services. A separate agency is the Maine Turnpike Authority, which was established in 1941.

Interstate Highways

There is one main route of an Interstate Highway in Maine, Interstate 95 which runs statewide and is part toll road in the form of the Maine Turnpike. I-95 covers nearly 500 miles in Maine and is the northernmost Interstate Highway in the eastern United States. It is also the primary link between Maine and Canada, mainly due to the lack of other major border crossings.

Some auxiliary routes also run through Maine, such as Interstate 195, a short spur in Saco, Interstate 295, a regional connection from Portland to Gardiner and alternative to the Maine Turnpike, Interstate 395 if spur in Bangor, and Interstate 495 if not -signposted Interstate Highway in Portland.

  • Deluxesurveillance: Nickname of Maine as The Pine Tree State. Also covers geography, history, economy, politics and administration of the state.

US Highways

A small number of US Highways also pass through Maine. US 1 forms the route along the south coast and parallel to the border with New Brunswick. At Calais it gives access to Highway 1 in New Brunswick, which is a freeway on the Canada side. US 2 runs east-west through the center and north of the state, ending in Houlton at the Canadian border. US 201 is a north-south route from Brunswick via Augusta to the Quebec border and is the primary link to that province. US 202 runs east-west through the south of the state, largely parallel to I-95 and therefore has little importance for through traffic. The US 302 comes from New Hampshire and ends in Portland.

State Routes

A network of state routes forms the secondary road network. The passing importance is usually limited, although they are often the only roads in the north of the state. They are numbered 3 through 238. State Route 1 has also existed in the past. The longest is State Route 11, which runs for 446 kilometers from the New Hampshire border in the far south to Fort Kent in the far north of Maine. Only US 1 is longer than State Route 11. No state route forms a single freeway, but State Route 15 does partly coincide with I-395 in Bangor.

Toll roads

In Maine, one toll road, the Maine Turnpike, is operated by the Maine Turnpike Authority. I-95 runs over it. The Maine Turnpike runs from York Harbor near the New Hampshire border to Augusta. The first section of this, from York Harbor to Portland, opened to traffic on December 13, 1947, and is considered the New England region’s first highway. In 1955 the extension to Augusta opened. It was planned to extend the toll road further to Bangor, but with the creation of the Interstate Highway system in 1956, that was no longer necessary.

History

The history of Maine’s highway system began in 1941, when it was proposed to build a toll road connecting the largest cities in the south of the state, the Maine Turnpike between the New Hampshire, Portland, Lewiston, and Augusta borders. On December 13, 1947, the southern section between Kittery and Portland opened, exactly 8 years later, on December 13, 1955, the extension to Augusta opened. In 1956 the Interstate Highway system was created, eliminating the need for further construction of toll roads. Between 1960 and 1967, I-95 continued north to the border with Canada extended. From 1960, I-95 ran along the coast between Portland and Augusta, via Brunswick. In 2004, I-95 was rerouted over the Maine Turnpike, and the old route was renumbered to I-295. No new highways have opened in Maine since the 1980s.

Maine Road Network