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[RoadsAroundME main page] Interstate 295 (Maine)
[Interstate 295 near Portland.]
<< Maine State Route 238 All Points in Maine US Highway 302 (Maine) >>

Termini and Mileage (2006)

Termini (in-state)
Northbound alignment: Int of I 295 NB, I 95 NB, Scarborough to Int of I 295 NB, I 95 NB, West Gardiner
Southbound alignment: Int of I 295 SB, I 95 SB, West Gardiner to Int of I 295 SB, I 95 SB, Scarborough
Mileage (in-state)
Northbound alignment: 52.62 miles (total over all segments)
Southbound alignment: 53.61 miles (total over all segments)

Regional and National Route Information

History as US Highway
Present-day I-295 in Freeport was originally constructed as US 1 in 1951, later becoming I-95 and now I-295. See US 1 and US 1B for the history of this alignment.
History as Interstate
Interstate 295 north of the Falmouth Spur to the present I-95/I-295 junction was formerly I-95.

Notes and History

Interstate 295 is Interstate 95's major spur in the Portland metropolitan area, originally running between I-95 at Portland to the Falmouth Spur (then I-95) in Falmouth.

Prior to the genesis of the Interstate system, a bypass of downtown Portland (the so-called "Portland Loop") was long envisioned due to the severe congestion on US 1. Although the designation of downtown US 1A in 1951 helped to offset the traffic load, work began in 1954 on an expressway alignment north of Back Cove slated to extend to downtown Portland and thence points south, and officially became designated as I-295 when federal funding was secured in 1956.

Originally intended to route over the 1954 Veterans Memorial Bridge, the Bridge did not meet Interstate standards and remained US 1; instead a new bridge over the Fore River was planned, along with a new upgraded Back Cove crossing along old Tukey's Bridge (carrying ME 26), named for tavern owner and toll collector Lemuel Tukey who managed the former Back Cove bridge crossing during the late 1700s. The upgraded new 500' four-span Tukey's Bridge, including three-lanes-per-direction of dual carriageway alignment, was completed along with two-lane-per-direction freeway north of the bridge to the Falmouth Spur (then I-95, now I-495) and signed as I-295 in 1960 at a total cost of approximately $3 million, with a 30' vertical clearance.

This left the southern section still to be routed and built. One proposal involved the long-considered Westbrook Expressway plan, which would have extended I-295 due west to bypass the then-very congested surface routing of ME 25. Heavily pushed by Westbrook and Gorham, this first incarnation eventually foundered (see ME 25 for the modern Westbrook Arterial, more or less the inheritor of this idea) and I-295's routing was replaced by the current routing through South Portland to the Turnpike around the airport. This routing quickly became controversial from multiple perspectives. One problem was the unstable marine clay soils along the proposed right-of-way, requiring several hundred sand-filled bore drains to diminish slippage measuring nearly 500 miles total in varying lengths. The other was where the route went, taking out a portion of the city park, a large cannery and a significant number of homes while splitting downtown Portland and Back Cove along its axis (though it could have been a lot worse, since as much of the highway as possible was consciously routed along railroad right-of-way after additional objections were raised). While MDOT was mulling these problems over, I-295 was extended up from I-95 to the Veterans Memorial Bridge/US 1 and opened in 1971; after that, the new Fore River crossing was constructed in 1973 and the Scarborough-South Portland alignment was finally completed in 1974.

After the completion of the full original routing from the Turnpike to the Falmouth Spur, the route remained more or less constant until 2004 when MDOT renumbered I-95, I-295 and I-495 and added the portion of then-I-95 from the Falmouth Spur to Gardiner to I-295 (see I-95 for the history of the renumbering and this alignment). Although the 2004 renumbering also ostensibly affected I-295's exit numbers, the numbers on the original I-295 routing did not change as they were already approximately separated by one mile.

As the major toll-free alternative to the Turnpike, I-295 still receives significant traffic volumes today. Although there are no plans to lengthen it, it is in a continual state of watchful improvement (such as the upgrade of the ME 9 interchange, started 2005) by MDOT.

Currently, ME 26 co-routes with I-295 and thus still crosses Tukey's Bridge to the East Deering Interchange and US 1. However, it is now going to have to share as MDOT has also co-routed US 1 on I-295 between exits 4 and US 1's current diversion at the East Deering Interchange, abandoning US 1's Veterans Memorial Bridge and Baxter Blvd alignments and thus removing the former US 1A designation. These swaps were approved by AASHTO in May 2007; see US 1 and US 1A.

A tip: if you take I-95 to exit 45, you can cross over to I-295 along ME 703 (the Approach Rd) and avoid the toll. Cha-ching. (Don't look at me like that -- I live in California. Avoiding tolls is our state pastime. Blame the Yak for pointing this out to me.)


Exit List

Due to the change in exit numbers, both new and old are listed. Exit descriptions are designed to be informational only and may not match signage. Cities and towns listed refer to the physical location of the exit, not any control city. Old numbers north of the Falmouth Spur/I-495 (exits 15-28) were the original I-95 exit numbers. Note that there is no former exit 18 or 23; see I-95. See also I-495 for original I-95 exits 15A and 15B.

  • 1 (1). Maine Mall Rd/US 1 (NB)/I-95 (SB), South Portland (connects with ME 703)
  • 2 (2). US 1/Scarborough, South Portland (SB only)
  • 3 (3). ME 9/Westbrook St, South Portland (SB only)
  • 4 (4). US 1, South Portland (Veterans Memorial Bridge) -- signed as Portland Waterfront NB (previously US 1), US 1/Main St/South Portland SB
  • 5A/5B (5A-B). ME 22/Congress St, Portland (suffixed SB only); now also signed US 1A
  • 6A/6B (6A-B). ME 100/US 302/Forest Ave, Portland previously signed with US 1
  • 7 (7). US 1A/Franklin St, Portland

    East Deering Interchange

  • 8 (8). ME 26/Washington Ave, Portland
  • 9 (9). ME 26/Washington Ave, Portland -- signed as NORTH US 1/Falmouth Foreside NB; NORTH ME 26/Baxter Blvd (previously signed SOUTH US 1 TO...) SB

  • 10 (10). TO US 1, TO ME 9, Bucknam Rd, Falmouth (also TO I-95/Maine Turnpike NB)
  • 11 (15). Falmouth Spur/I-495 to Maine Turnpike/I-95 (SB only)
  • 15 (16). US 1, Yarmouth
  • 17 (17). US 1, Yarmouth
  • 20 (19). Desert Rd, Freeport
  • 22 (20). ME 125/ME 136/Mallet Dr, Freeport
  • 24 (21). US 1, Freeport (NB only)
  • 28 (22). US 1, Brunswick
  • 31 (24). ME 196, Topsham (to US 1/Cooks Corner)
  • 37 (25). ME 125/ME 138, Bowdoinham
  • 43 (26). ME 197, Richmond
  • 49 (27). US 201, Gardiner
  • 51 (28). ME 9/ME 126, West Gardiner

Archival Photographs

[Thumbnail image. Select for 640x480.] Freeport expressway alignment, originally US 1, upgraded as part of the I-95 project (shown here), and now part of I-295 (Highway News 6/58).
[Thumbnail image. Select for 640x480.] Tukey's Bridge during its upgrading for I-295 (Highway News 11/59). Note that only half is in use (one-lane-per-direction) while the other lanes are being constructed. The two large fills on the approaches contain approximately 500,000 yards of earth and 140,000 yards of rock. US 1A was originally routed on Tukey's Bridge, but MDOT received AASHTO permission to switch it out for US 1 in May 2007 (see respective entries).
Additional Photographs

[Thumbnail image. Select for 640x480.] Warning sign for I-95/I-295/I-495 redesignation and exit renumbering at the south end of I-95, NB, before the Turnpike. This is the only I-495 shield remaining in Maine.
[Thumbnail image. Select for 640x480.] NB Interstate 295 north of the Falmouth Spur/I-495.
[Thumbnail image. Select for 640x480.] Advance signage on SB I-95 for the SB I-295 split. ME 9 and ME 126 are the first southbound exit directly on I-295 into Gardiner/Randolph.

Additional Resources

<< Maine State Route 238 All Points in Maine US Highway 302 (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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