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[RoadsAroundME main page] US Highway 1 Bypass (Maine)
[By-Pass US 1 shield in Kittery.]
<< Maine State Route 1A All Points in Maine US Highway 1C (Maine) >>

Termini and Mileage (2006)

Termini (in-state)
Northbound alignment: Stateline Maine-New Hampshire, Kittery to Int of US 1 and US 1 BYP, Kittery
Southbound alignment: Int of US 1 and US 1 BYP, Kittery to Stateline Maine-New Hampshire, Kittery
Mileage (in-state)
Northbound alignment: 1.5 miles (total over all segments)
Southbound alignment: 1.5 miles (total over all segments)

Regional and National Route Information

National termini
Portsmouth, NH to Kittery, ME (this alignment)
Mileage (nationwide): 4.2 miles

History as US Highway
This entry covers the Kittery US 1BYP. For the former 1BYP in Rockland, see US 1A.

First designated regionally in 1940 parallel to US 1 with the opening of the Sarah Mildred Long crossing, but does not appear to have been recognized in Maine until 1960 (and then as US 1A, not as US 1BYP). However, this resource says it was truly US 1 BYP from its opening at least in New Hampshire and the 1956 topo (warning: large image) shows a BYPASS shield co-routed with Interstate 95 entering Maine and BYP 1 within Portsmouth, concurring that it may have been in use in New Hampshire earlier.

After upgrades to the northern Maine portion in 1947, it was absorbed into the Maine Turnpike and became the southern toll crossing into the state until 1973. Despite the early signage as US 1 ALT, the BYPASS designation does not appear on the official Maine state maps until 1966 and never appeared on any route logs in either form during this period (see below).

History as Interstate
Co-signed as Interstate 95 either directly or as a connector in Maine; this starts to appear on Maine official state maps in 1957. Credence for its being part of I-95 in Maine is lent by I-95 never appearing in logs from the period either but other alternate alignments of US 1 did, implying that US 1BYP was part of the routing of I-95 and not a US 1 spur, as well as detail maps of the Kittery entrance point showing an Interstate 95 shield near/on the BYPASS alignment. It would remain designated as the through-route between Maine and New Hampshire and their respective Turnpikes until the completion of the larger-span Piscataqua River crossing in 1972 and its connectors in 1973, when I-95 was shifted to the larger bridge.

Notes and History

US 1 Bypass, or US 1 By-Pass if you like, exists today largely as a truck and oversize outlet for traffic too large to cross on the US 1 Piscataqua River bridge (or too cheap to cross on I-95 and pay the tolls in either state). The 1923 US 1 Memorial Bridge crossing cannot handle heavy trucks due to its dismal state of repair, hence the By-Pass 1940 Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, a steel drawbridge carrying auto and train traffic with an approximate length of 2,800' and a raised clearance of 134'. This bridge itself replaced an earlier 1821-2 crossing, and was later upgraded in 1991. Previously simply named the Maine-New Hampshire Interstate Bridge, it was renamed in 1987 in honour of the long-time employee and eventual executive director of the Maine-New Hampshire Bridge Authority, S. M. Long herself. Both states jointly own and maintain the bridge. Originally tolled when part of the Turnpike, the crossing became free when I-95 was moved off it. Several images of the bridge are in the Bypass US 1 photoessay.

The Mildred Long is interesting for another reason besides its obvious drawbridge configuration; a second movable section on the lower railway bed can lift up and telescope into the trussed portion to allow recreational water traffic through without requiring the main span to be raised. This interesting secondary configuration is shown in this Wikipedia photograph.

MDOT now considers US 1 By-Pass to be part of US 1A (thus its entire routing is part of US 1A's cumulative mileage), although it retains its distinctive non-bannered signs. Both New Hampshire and Maine use these special shields.

Although US 1BYP is built with grade-separated interchanges north of the state line (as part of the 1947 Turnpike construction), it does not presently qualify as freeway as there is no restriction of right-of-way to abutting properties. Indeed, I stayed at a hotel right on the "freeway," driving off and on it via driveway.

There is a former US 1BYP in Rockland which now appears to be signed as US 1A.

See the US 1 By-Pass exhibit for more information and a complete photoessay.

Roadgap Exhibits

 US 1 By-Pass Photoessay (covering Maine and New Hampshire)

Additional Photographs

[Thumbnail image. Select for 640x480.] Final southbound exit on Maine I-95, advance signage for US 1/US 1BYP (US 1 Bypass)/ME 236 to Kittery.
[Thumbnail image. Select for 640x480.] Last exit on I-95 into New Hampshire.
[Thumbnail image. Select for 640x480.] Signage to US 1, US 1 Bypass "BY-PASS US 1" and ME 236. US 1BYP usually uses a special shield with BY-PASS in it, but this one has a fairly conventional banner instead.
[Thumbnail image. Select for 640x480.] Kittery split. US 1 and ME 236 are accessed on the left fork via traffic circle, while US 1BYP exits right to the controlled-access alignment serving Kittery into Portsmouth, NH. The white truck weight sign explains why US 1BYP continues to exist.

Additional Resources

Other Roadgap exhibits for this route
US 1 By-Pass Photoessay (covering Maine and New Hampshire)

Additional resources

<< Maine State Route 1A All Points in Maine US Highway 1C (Maine) >>
Routing information is property of the Maine Department of Transportation, based on most current data available at time of this writing. No warranty or guarantee is expressed or implied regarding this routing's suitability for travel or resemblance to fact. RoadsAroundME is not affiliated with, sponsored by or funded by the taxpayers of the state of Maine, or the Maine Department of Transportation.

All images, photographs and multimedia, unless otherwise stated, are copyright © 2005-2010 Cameron Kaiser. All rights reserved. All writeups are copyright © 2005-2010 Cameron Kaiser. All rights reserved. Unauthorized copying or duplication without express consent of the copyright holder is strictly prohibited. Please contact the sitemaster to request permission if you wish to use items from this page.

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