[The Orono Bog Boardwalk. A one-mile walk literally on boards, the 616 acre bog is believed to be approximately 11,200 years old. The depth can be up to 25 feet.]
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The New England Interstate System in Maine (1925)

[Return to RoadsAroundME] The New England Interstate system was a mutually agreed-upon system of marking interstate and intrastate highways determined by the six New England states (that is, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island), and to a lesser extent New York state east of the Hudson River. [New England Interstate shield.] Instead of the pole highway marking system that preceded it, the NEIs were actually numbered highways, with routes under 100 carrying the interstate links and routes 100 and above being local intrastate routes, on the 11" x 15" yellow and black signs seen at right (the white border is for illustration and was not part of the sign itself). Many of these routes were in fact descended from the pole highways and auto trails; see Maine's Pole Highways for their lineage.

These numbers completely replaced the former system of lettered highways.

Despite the New England Interstate system being inaugurated early in 1922, and almost certainly with input from the Maine State Highway Commission, the routes in Maine did not actually become signed and known to the public until 1925. However, some early maps listed the already-determined routings, with some of these maps dating back as early as 1923 despite little or no official physical signage in the field. Understandably, there is some argument in early maps about routings, particularly for NEI 1, NEI 18, NEI 20 and NEI 24. On the 1923 Rand McNally auto trails map, NEI 20 is seen starting in Portland and going to Gray, Auburn, Monmouth, Augusta, Belgrade, Rome, Mercer, Norridgewock and finally up its final 1925 routing from there (see below) to Canada via Anson and Bingham; NEI 18 is seen considerably further south of its later routing as US 302, following a routing through Baldwin, Standish and Hiram back to Fryeburg very much like that of modern ME 113. For its part, NEI 24 was on a considerably different routing, running from Brunswick to Gardiner, Augusta, Vassalboro, Clinton, Pittsfield, Newport, Corinna, Dover-Foxcroft, Guilford, Monson and terminating in Greenville. Just a year later, however, NEI 20 and 24 took over their final routings but 1 was shifted to an inland route, leaving the coast at Portland and passing through Lewiston, Augusta, Newport and finally picking up the 1923 and 1925 routing in Bangor; NEI 18 is on the modern US 302 corridor. Interestingly, the 1924 map shows ME 100 signed on the coast on what was NEI 1 just the year before. Although these routings are interesting for conjecture, they are ultimately an academic point as the only official routings were those in 1925 as listed below.

New England Interstate Route 1 (NEI 1)

Definition
Enters the State at Kittery, thence via Wells, Biddeford, Portland, Brunswick, Bath, Rockland, Belfast, Bangor, Ellsworth, Columbia Falls, Machias, Calais, and on into the Province of New Brunswick.
Length
360.2 miles
Replaced by
US 1 except Stockton Springs-Bangor-Ellsworth, which is US 1A and US 1AB.

New England Interstate Route 9 (NEI 9)

Definition
Enters the State at Berwick, thence via North Berwick to Wells, intersecting Route 1.
Length
17.0 miles
Replaced by
ME 9

New England Interstate Route 11 (NEI 11)

Definition
Enters the State in the town of Lebanon (opposite East Rochester, N.H.), thence via Sanford and Alfred to Biddeford, intersecting Route 1.
Length
31.3 miles
Replaced by
ME 11, except Sanford-Alfred, which is US 202/ME 4A, and Alfred-Biddeford, which is ME 111.

New England Interstate Route 15 (NEI 15)

Definition
Enters the State at Gilead, thence via Bethel, Rumford, Dixfield, Wilton, Farmington, New Sharon, Mercer, Norridgewock, Skowhegan, Pittsfield, Newport, Bangor, Old Town, Lincoln, Mattawamkeag, Island Falls, Houlton, and on into the Province of New Brunswick.
Length
296.2 miles
Replaced by
US 2, except Pittsfield, which is partially ME 100 and partially decommissioned (see US 2), and Orono-Old Town, which is US 2A.

New England Interstate Route 18 (NEI 18)

Definition
The Theodore Roosevelt International Highway, entering the State at Fryeburg, thence via Brigton, Naples and Raymond to Portland.
Length
60.6 miles
Replaced by
ME 18 (now US 302).

New England Interstate Route 20 (NEI 20)

Definition
The Interstate Quebec route, intersecting Route 1 at Brunswick, thence via Richmond Corner, Gardiner, Augusta, Waterville, Skowhegan, Norridgewock, Madison, Solon, Bingham, Jackman and on to Quebec. This route coincides with Route 15 between Skowhegan and Norridgewock.
Length
178.5 miles
Replaced by
US 201, except Norridgewock-Solon which is now US 201A.

New England Interstate Route 24 (NEI 24)

Definition
Starts at Calais and proceeds via Topsfield, Danforth, Houlton, Presque Isle, Caribou and Van Buren to Madawaska, entering New Brunswick at that point.
Length
194.0 miles
Replaced by
US 1, except Mars Hill-Easton, which is now US 1A, and Easton-Presque Isle, which is now ME 10.

Some 1923-4 maps do show the routing between Fort Kent and Madawaska as part of NEI 24, but this does not seem to have been recognized on the 1925 state map.

New England Interstate Route 25 (NEI 25)

Definition
Enters the State at Porter and proceeds via Cornish, Standish, Gorham and Westbrook to Portland.
Length
45.2 miles
Replaced by
ME 25, except for Westbrook, which is now Business 25 (ME 25C).

New England Interstate Route 26 (NEI 26)

Definition
Enters the State at Upton and proceeds via Grafton, Newry, Bethel, Bryant's Pond, Paris, Norway, Poland Spring and Gray to Portland. This route coincides with Route 15 from Newry to Bethel.
Length
108.9 miles
Replaced by
ME 26


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