PORTLAND, Maine — Motorists driving stretches of the Maine Turnpike will be allowed to go 5 miles per hour faster starting Monday, the Maine Turnpike Authority has announced.
The speed limit will increase on the turnpike from 65 mph to 70 mph with the exception of three areas, Executive Director Peter Mills said.
They are: south of mile marker 2.1 on I-95 in Kittery, where the maximum speed will remain 65 mph; through Greater Portland from mile marker 41 in Scarborough to mile marker 53 in Falmouth, where the speed limit will increase from 55 mph to 60 mph; and on the Falmouth Spur, which will increase to 60 mph.
“With the improvements that have made Maine’s interstates safer, such as added guardrails in the median and clearing along the highway, it makes sense to raise the speed limit to the rate of which most people are already traveling, if it is safe to do so,” Mills said in a statement released Friday. “Motorists need to remember that this is a maximum speed. We urge motorists to respect conditions and to drive safely, no matter what the posted speed may be.”
Turnpike maintenance crews will begin changing about 100 signs along the roadway to reflect the new speed limits at about at 5 a.m. on Monday, Mills said.
Friday’s announcement follows the increase of speed limits in late May along portions of Interstate 295, Interstate 95, Interstate 395 and Route 1, by five miles per hour. The changes increased speed limits to 60, 65 and 70 mph.
The possibility of raising speed limits on the interstate highway system was made possible in May 2013 with the enactment of LD 654, An Act to Raise the Speed Limit on Interstate 295. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, originally called for raising the maximum allowable speed on Interstate 295, which runs between Scarborough and West Gardiner, to 75 mph. It was amended to give the transportation commissioner the authority to raise the limit on the entire interstate system.
The bill won unanimous approval in the Legislature and went into effect on May 20 without Gov. Paul LePage’s signature.