heavy traffic Alert
Posted on August 27 at 12:06 PM
Motorists traveling north and southbound on the Maine Turnpike are being advised of heavy traffic between New Hampshire line (Mile 0) and Exit 7 in York. Please use caution and stay alert while traveling through this area. This message will be updated as conditions change.
Motorists traveling northbound and southbound between the New Hampshire state line and exit 7 in York will encounter intermittent delays due to high traffic volume.
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In 1941 the Maine State Legislature passed "An Act to Create the Maine Turnpike Authority" creating an independent state agency charged with constructing a highway from “some point at or near Kittery to some point at or near Fort Kent.” At that time, it was the largest construction project in Maine.
The new toll “superhighway” was the brainchild of Representative Joseph T. Sayward of Kennebunk and a small group of community leaders who decided the time had come to invest in a modern highway that would provide safe and speedy access to the state’s towns and cities. Up to this point, Route 1, which follows
Maine's coast, was the main road between Kittery and Portland and was becoming extremely congested. Some said it would take the better part of a day to travel between the two cities. Studies conducted by the State Highway Department showed that widening or relocating portions of Route 1 was not feasible. However, many worried a new road would direct tourists away from businesses along Route 1. Despite reasonable concerns, Sayward and his group knew how important highway travel would be for Maine, and they pushed on. Plans for the new road went ahead.
The survey, design and securing of finances for the first, 45-mile, four-lane divided highway (Section I) took a full five years to complete. The actual construction took less than two years.
The Maine Turnpike Authority was innovative in its finance method for the road, leveraging funds using revenue bonds for highway construction. More than $20 million was raised through bonds sold to private and institutional investors. This landmark use of revenue bonds allowed for the road to be built without any state or federal funds, and the debt was repaid entirely from projected toll revenues. This unique establishment of revenue bonds produced a national model for how states and municipalities fund major infrastructure projects today.
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