Interstate 295 constitutes an urban loop from Interstate 95 and the Maine Turnpike through the city of Portland. The freeway serves the central business district and nearby suburbs of South Portland and connects to secret Interstate 495 near Falmouth. On January 5, 2004, Interstate 295 was extended north to encompass the original Interstate 95 alignment from Falmouth to Gardiner (Maine Turnpike). This proposal to change the designation of Interstate 95, Interstate 295, and Interstate 495 was approved by AASHTO on October 11, 2002.
The state of Maine posted a proclamation sign on Interstate 95 (Maine Turnpike) northbound near the New Hampshire state line advising motorists of the redesignation of Interstates 95, 295, and 495 and exit renumbering of the Maine Interstate system. Photo taken by Sheila Schumacher (08/31/04).
This extension of Interstate 295 coincided with a relocation of the Interstate 95 mainline onto the Interstate 495 section of the Maine Turnpike. The intent of this process is to reduce confusion motorists encounter when traveling through the area via Interstate 95. The former alignment of Interstate 95 saw the highway depart the Turnpike via the Falmouth Spur north of Portland. From the east end of that road at Falmouth, Interstate 95 turned north toward Augusta by way of Brunswick and the new Interstate 295 alignment. With completion of the resigning on January 10, 2004, Interstate 295 and Interstate 95 both travel northward toward the state capital. Interstate 495 meanwhile is now relegated to the short Falmouth Spur between the Turnpike and Interstate 295. Interstate 495 will exist legislatively only, and not be sign-posted along the short stretch of highway. Instead the "ramp" will be signed with Interstate 95 and 295 trailblazers respectively.1
Interstate 295 was completed in stages in Portland:2
1960 - Tukey's Bridge completed (bridge was named for Lemuel Tukey, a tavern owner and toll collector for the Back Cove Bridge in the late 18th Century)
1961 - section from Falmouth Spur to Yarmouth opens
1971 - additional urban sections open through Portland
1973 - Interstate 295 through Brunswick and Topsham opens
1974 - Section from Scarborough to South Portland opens
1977 - Section from Topsham to Gardiner opens
1995 - Section from South Portland to Portland across Memorial Bridge and connecting to Tukeys Bridge opens; section from U.S. 201 and Maine Turnpike near Gardiner opens
The historical information is taken directly from a Maine DOT webpage. Contributor Eric Bryant takes issue with the openings listed for 1995. Regarding the section from South Portland to Portland across Memorial Bridge and connecting to Tukey's Bridge, Mr. Bryant indicates that this is "essentially a nonsense statement. Tukey's Bridge is the span across back cove that's multiplexed with Maine 26. Connecting this point to the South Portland city line would equal the entirety of 295 in the Portland downtown peninsula. The entirety of 'classic' 295 was open in 1974. The mention of 'Memorial Bridge,' I find perplexing as well - Veterans Memorial Bridge carried U.S. 1 (until May 2007), but never 295. To my knowledge the 295 Fore River bridge does not have a name - and certainly not one that is well known to the public."
Mr. Bryant also takes issue with the opening dates of Interstate 295 between U.S. 202 and Interstate 95/Maine Turnpike. "The Turnpike does not enter Gardiner, but the 201/295 junction is there so I'll cut `em some slack. My *suspicion* is that this section opened in 1977, and most accounts shortened 'Topsham to West Gardiner' to just plain Gardiner for brevity. MDOT's own page shortening the 95/295 junction to Gardiner lends this theory some credibility. As with 295 through Portland, I have memories of riding this section well before 1995. (This may have been listed in 1995 because) the 295/95/9/126 interchange was reconfigured in the 1990s."
Southern Terminus - Interstate 95/Maine Turnpike - Scarborough, Maine
Perspective from Interstate 295 south
End shield posted for Interstate 295 southbound ahead of the Maine Turnpike toll plaza south of Exit 1 (Interstate 95 Connector). Interstate 295 southbound drivers default onto the Maine Turnpike southbound ahead of the interchange with Haigais Parkway and Payne Road. Photo taken by Sheila Schumacher (08/31/04).
Perspective from Interstate 95 north
One mile south of Exit 44, the northbound beginning of Interstate 295. The Portland loop sees four South Portland area interchanges: Exit 1/U.S. 1 connector, Exit 2/Scarborough Connector, Exit 3/Maine 9 - Western Avenue, Exit 4/U.S. 1 - Main Street/Fore River Bridge. Photo taken 06/27/05.
Now within one half mile of the Interstate 95/295 split on the Maine Turnpike north. The next northbound interchange (Exit 45) is with the aforementioned U.S. 1/South Portland freeway connector. This highway features interchanges with Maine Mall Road, Interstate 295, Broadway, the Scarborough Connector, before concluding at U.S. 1/Maine 9/Main Street. Maine Mall Road links Exit 7 with nearby Maine 114/Gorham Road. Photo taken 06/27/05.
Speaking of Maine 114, Interstate 95 crosses underneath Gorham Road at the split with Interstate 295. Downtown Portland is approximately five miles to the northeast of this junction. The city boasts 64,400 residents and is Maine's largest. Photo taken 06/27/05.
Perspective from Interstate 295 north
After the toll plaza for the Interstate 295 departure from the Maine Turnpike. Exit 1 with the U.S. 1 connector lies one quarter mile ahead. The connector allows Interstate 295 motorists access to Broadway, the main thoroughfare into downtown South Portland. Photo taken 06/27/05.
First reassurance shield for Interstate 295 northbound. The rural character of Interstate 295 transitions to an urban landscape across the Fore River into the city limits of Portland. Photo taken 06/27/05.
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Exit 45 serves traffic interests to South Portland, Interstate 295 north, U.S. 1 (Main Street), Maine 114 (Gorham Road), Maine Mall Road north and Payne Road south from Interstate 95 (Maine Turnpike) southbound. The Interstate 95 connector travels south from Exit 45, providing freeway connections to the Maine Mall area, Interstate 295, Broadway, and U.S. 1 & Maine 9 (Main Street). Photo taken 06/28/05.
Southbound at the Exit 45 trumpet interchange with the Maine Turnpike Interstate 95 Connector. The connector freeway meets Maine Mall Road north and Payne Road south nearby and Interstate 295 in one mile. Payne Road travels south to Maine 114 (Gorham Road). An Interstate 295 Connector freeway provides a fast route to U.S. 1 & Maine 9 (Blue Star Memorial Highway) south toward Scarborough. Photo taken 06/28/05.
End Interstate 295/Begin Interstate 95 sign posted at the Interstate 295 northbound merge onto Interstate 95 (Maine Turnpike) northbound and former northern terminus of Interstate 495. The next departure point for northbound drivers occurs in seven miles at the capital city of Augusta. Photo taken by Sheila Schumacher (05/13/04).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Interstate 95 becomes the Maine Turnpike south of the Exit 109 interchange with U.S. 202 & Maine 11-17-100 in Augusta. The toll road begins ahead of the split with Interstate 295 (Exit 103) near Gardiner. Photo taken 06/28/05.
The first mainline interchange of the Maine Turnpike consists of the wye interchange with Interstate 295 south at Exit 103. Interstate 295 intersects Maine 9 & 126 (Lewiston Road) just south of the split. The state highways serve the city of Gardiner to the east. Photo taken 06/28/05.
Traffic interests to Freeport should use Interstate 295 southbound. Freeport lies along the freeway corridor 37 miles to the south. Photo taken 06/28/05.
High Street passes over Interstate 95 (Maine Turnpike) southbound one half mile north of the split with Interstate 295. A large diagrammatic overhead advises motorists of the Exit 103 off-ramp. The Maine Turnpike travels west from Gardiner 23 miles to Lewiston, 28 miles to Auburn, and 55 miles to Portland. Interstate 295 heads south 22 miles Brunswick and 46 miles to downtown Portland. Photo taken 06/28/05.
The southbound split of Interstate 95 and 295 at Exit 103 of the Maine Turnpike. Photo taken 06/28/05.
Interstate 295 departs Interstate 95 and quickly encounters the Exit 51 diamond interchange with Maine 9 & 126 (Lewiston Road). Maine 9 & 126 venture three miles east to junction U.S. 201 (Brunswick Avenue) in downtown Gardiner. The tandem continue 17 miles west to their split at Sabattus. Photo taken 06/28/05.
Perspective from Interstate 95 (Maine Turnpike) north
There is no direct access onto Interstate 295 southbound from Interstate 95 (Maine Turnpike) northbound. Instead motorists must use the Exit 102 off-ramp to Maine 9 & 126 (Lewiston Road) east to their junction with Interstate 295. Photo taken 06/27/05.
Exit 102 provide the only access to Gardiner from the Maine Turnpike northbound via Maine 9 & 126 (Lewiston Road) east. Maine 9 & 126 cross paths with Interstate 295 nearby on the 3.25 mile drive to downtown Gardiner. Photo taken 06/27/05.
Exit 102 consists of a northbound off-ramp to Maine 9 & 126 and a southbound loop ramp onto Interstate 95 from Lewiston Road. Interstate 295 northbound merges onto Interstate 95 one half mile ahead via a wye interchange. Photo taken 06/27/05.
Interstate 295 ended at the Falmouth Spur (unsigned Interstate 495) until 2004. The Falmouth Spur represents a four-mile connector between the Maine Turnpike (Interstate 95) and Interstate 295. Unnumbered in the field, the east-west highway carries the hidden designation of Interstate 495. Pictured here is an Interstate 295 end sign placed prior to the 2004 renumbering. The designation now continues another 41 miles to Gardiner. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (12/02).
Perspective from Interstate 295 south
Interstate 295 southbound at the westbound beginning of Interstate 495 (Falmouth Spur) west. Historically this was the Interstate 95 southbound transition onto the Maine Turnpike system and the southbound beginning of Interstate 295. Photo taken 06/28/05.
Perspective from Interstate 495 east
The east end of the Falmouth Spur (Interstate 495) occurs at Interstate 295 and U.S. 1 (Blue Star Memorial Highway). This junction represented the Interstate 95 overtaking of the Interstate 295 freeway from the Maine Turnpike system historically. Photo taken by Sheila Schumacher (05/20/04).