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Maine Turnpike Authority Assessing Traffic and Safety: Scarborough to Falmouth

Maine Turnpike: Thinking Ahead FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 14, 2017
Erin Courtney
CONTACT: Dan Morin (MTA)

Maine Turnpike Authority Assessing Traffic and Safety: Scarborough to Falmouth

First Public Advisory Committee Meeting set for June 28; Open to Public

PORTLAND - The Maine Turnpike Authority (MTA) has launched a formal needs assessment to determine how to address growing safety and capacity challenges on the Portland-area section of the Turnpike, from Scarborough to Falmouth. Last year the MTA completed an evaluation of most of the Turnpike’s length, which revealed that traffic on the Portland-area section has been increasing to the point where safety and mobility is becoming compromised. The evaluation was based on data through 2014. Since then, traffic volumes in this section of the Turnpike have been growing at between three and five percent a year and are now at record highs. The needs assessment will gather and evaluate updated data through 2016 and result in recommendations for improvement.

A public advisory committee (PAC) has been formed to assist the MTA in identifying and evaluating solutions to the safety and capacity challenges. The first PAC meeting will take place on June 28, from 4-7 pm at the Maine Turnpike Authority Headquarters at 2360 Congress Street, Portland. The meeting is open to the public and there will be time set aside at the end of each meeting for the public to ask questions and make comments. A study website - www.maineturnpike.com/PAM - has been created and will contain background on the study, a list of PAC members, and ongoing documentation for the study.
Because the regional economy is a significant factor in predicting traffic volumes, the MTA has invited Charles Colgan to attend the first PAC meeting and provide his thoughts on the economic outlook for Greater Portland. Colgan, a well-known figure in Maine, was for many years the State Economist as well as Professor of Public Policy and Management at the Muskie School of Public Service in Portland. He is currently director of research at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California.
Peter Mills, MTA executive director, said, “This section of I-95 is a major piece of the overall transportation network of Greater Portland, providing access to the businesses, cities and towns that form Maine’s primary economic engine. The Turnpike also links travelers to modal choices like the Portland Jetport, and provides a convenient route for travelers looking to pass through the region.”  Mills noted that this section of the Turnpike has always been an alternate route to I-295 through Portland, as well as other area roads adjacent to the corridor.
Mills added, “Turnpike customers pay a toll to travel on a safe, convenient, well-maintained highway that is reasonably free from chronic congestion and capacity problems.  Accordingly, the Turnpike’s goal is to meet these customer expectations, and anticipate and resolve problems before they reach a crisis point. This needs assessment is designed to make sure we have up-to-date information to plan improvements that meet this goal.”
The needs assessment will be completed by early 2018.