Maine Turnpike

From Turnpike
(Redirected from Falmouth Spur)
Jump to: navigation, search
Maine Turnpike Shield
The Piscataqua River Bridge marks the southern terminus of the Maine Turnpike

The Maine Turnpike is a tolled expressway that connects the Piscataqua River Bridge in Kittery, Maine with US-202 in Augusta, Maine. The Maine Turnpike uses an open-barrier toll system, meaning that all traffic stops and pays toll at select points along the highway. Traffic entering and exiting the highway just before or just after a toll barrier will pay toll on the ramp.

Route description[edit]

The Maine Turnpike highlighted in blue

The Maine Turnpike begins at the Piscataqua River Bridge, which carries Interstate 95 over the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine. On the New Hampshire side, I-95 is signed as the Blue Star New Hampshire Highway. On the Maine side, I-95 becomes the Maine Turnpike. However, the highway is not tolled for the southernmost 5 miles. The first toll is located just after interchange 7 with US-1 in York.

The Maine Turnpike is noted for its exit and interchange numbers, which skip several numbers, especially in the southern sections, and do not follow chronological order. For example, there is no exit 4, 5, or 6 - after exit 3, the next exit is exit 7. There are also significant gaps between exit 7 in York and exit 36 in Saco - only four exits are located in this area. Exit 7 is followed by exit 19, which is followed by exit 32, which is then followed by exit 36.

Spur routes[edit]

The Maine Turnpike has two spur routes that are also tolled - these are the Scarborough Connector and the Falmouth Spur. In the city of Portland, Interstate 295 bypasses the Maine Turnpike and cuts through the center of downtown, but this route is not a toll road except at the junctions of the turnpike in both north and south Portland.

Scarborough Connector[edit]

The Scarborough Connector highlighted in blue

The Scarborough Connector is a 5.8 mile spur route of the Maine Turnpike, located less than 1/2 mile north of the south interchange with Interstate 295. The Scarborough Connector provides access to the Maine Mall and US-1 through downtown Scarborough directly from the Maine Turnpike, when otherwise traffic would have to take Interstate 295, and, due to a lack of a direct exit from I-295 to Scarborough, essentially go too far north just to turn around and head back south.

The Scarborough Connector is actually comprised of two separate spur routes that run perpendicular to each other. One route running east-west connects the Maine Turnpike and Interstate 295 to the Maine Mall. The other route running north-south connects the Maine Turnpike, Maine Mall, Interstate 295, and the east-west spur to US-1 in downtown Scarborough.

Originally, the Scarborough Connector was a large four-level stack interchange, with the east-west spur running on the bottom level and the north-south spur running on the second level. The two upper levels were used by ramps connecting each of the spurs with other nearby roads. However, in January 2018, 7 people were killed in a massive pileup crash inside the interchange. Basically, a vehicle was traveling on the uppermost level too fast, and the bridge was icy. The car lost control and fell off the bridge onto the level below it, which in turn caused the traffic on the level below to fall another level down. This resulted in a massive and fiery pileup on the east-west spur on the lowest level. After this accident, the Scarborough Connector was closed for five weeks, and the stack interchange was demolished. Now, several partial cloverleaf interchanges are present, with only single flyover ramps at some exits.

A toll plaza is located at the western end of the east-west spur. A toll plaza also used to be located at the southern end of the north-south spur, but this toll plaza was replaced by a camera gantry in 2015, thus implementing electronic “Pay-by-Plate” tolling. If a vehicle does not have EZ-PASS, their license plate is photographed, and a bill is sent in the mail. This system is increasingly being used on many toll roads to help reduce traffic congestion at toll booths.

Falmouth Spur[edit]

The Falmouth Spur highlighted in blue

The Falmouth Spur is the second spur route of the Maine Turnpike. At 4.8 miles long, it is one mile shorter than the Scarborough Connector. The Falmouth Spur connects the Maine Turnpike with Interstate 295 and US-1 in the town of Falmouth, from where the road gets its name. Falmouth is located one town north of Portland. The Falmouth Spur does not have any intermediate exits between its two terminals, and has a single toll plaza exactly half way along the route. The Falmouth Spur was essentially designed to provide redundancy to traffic traveling northbound who need to access I-295 and may have missed the first interchange, and was also designed to allow traffic traveling southbound to access I-295 about 3 miles further north than they would if they continued to the main interchange in South Portland.

Tolls[edit]

The Maine Turnpike uses an open-barrier tolling system, meaning that several toll plazas are placed along the highway in various locations, at which all vehicles must stop and pay a toll. Additionally, the Maine Turnpike has tolled interchanges, particularly on the southern sections to prevent motorists from exiting and re-entering the turnpike for the sole purpose of avoiding mainline toll barriers, a practice commonly known as “Shunpiking”.

The table below contains the cash and EZ-PASS toll rates for 2-axle passenger cars and semi tractor trailer trucks. Note that the southern 7 miles of the turnpike between the Piscataqua River Bridge and the York Toll Plaza are free.

Toll Plaza Location Car Cash Car EZ-PASS Truck Cash Truck EZ-PASS
York Mainline Mile marker 7.20 $3.00 $1.50 $13.50 $6.75
Wells Interchange Mile marker 19.00 $1.50 $0.75 $6.75 $3.50
Kennebunk Interchange Mile marker 25.01 $1.00 $0.50 $4.50 $2.25
Biddeford Interchange Mile marker 31.09 $1.00 $0.50 $4.50 $2.25
Saco Interchange Mile marker 35.20 $1.00 $0.50 $4.50 $2.25
Haigis Interchange Mile marker 41.90 $1.00 $0.50 $4.50 $2.25
Portland Interchange Mile marker 43.51 $2.00 $1.00 $9.00 $4.50
Scarborough Interchange Mile marker 44.24 $2.00 $1.00 $9.00 $4.50
Westbrook Interchange Mile marker 46.65 $1.00 $0.50 $4.50 $2.25
Larrabee Interchange Mile marker 47.83 $1.00 $0.50 $4.50 $2.25
Falmouth Spur Mainline Mile marker 50.87 $1.50 $0.75 $6.75 $3.50
Falmouth Interchange Mile marker 51.62 $1.00 $0.50 $4.50 $2.25
New Gloucester Mainline Mile marker 66.03 $3.25 $1.75 $14.65 $7.90
West Gardiner Mainline Mile marker 98.74 $1.75 $1.25 $7.95 $5.70
Libby Hill Interchange Mile marker 101.0 $2.00 $1.00 $9.00 $4.50