Cars travel on the Maine Turnpike in July 2018. Credit: Courtesy of CBS 13

More than one million drivers are expected to be on the road over Labor Day weekend, signaling a return to pre-pandemic levels.

Traffic in August increased by 22 percent compared with August 2020 travelers, according to summer data. The volume of travelers over the next three days is anticipated to be down only 3 percent from record-breaking 2019 numbers, Maine Turnpike Authority officials said.

Northbound traffic is expected to be busiest between 3 and 7 p.m. on Friday, officials said. On Saturday, the Maine Turnpike is expected to be heaviest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in both directions.

Meanwhile, officials anticipate that southbound traffic will be busiest between noon and 7 p.m. on Monday.

This year will also be the last year that travelers will be passing through the York Toll Plaza, as the new toll plaza at mile 8.8 is slated to open on Sept. 15.

Out-of-state visitors account for two-thirds of Maine’s toll revenue, according to Erin Courtney, the public outreach manager for the Maine Turnpike Authority.

The new plaza will be like the one on Interstate 95 in Hampton, New Hampshire, an “open-road tolling” design with both cash lanes and center highway speed lanes for those with E-ZPass transponder.

Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley and staying active in the Maine outdoors.