Interstate 295 constitutes both an urban loop east from the Maine Turnpike through South Portland and Portland, and a through route connecting I-95 with Brunswick and U.S. 1 leading east to Down East Maine. Prior to January 5, 2004, I-295 consisted of just a 10.90 mile route through Portland, ending at the Maine Turnpike Falmouth Spur, which carried Interstate 95 east to its toll free section leading north to Gardiner. The state of Maine initiated a statewide renumbering of I-95, I-295 and I-495 in an effort to reduce motorist confusion.
Interstate 95 was relocated westward from Falmouth to Gardiner to remain wholly along the Maine Turnpike to Gray and Lewiston. This replaced the previous designation of Interstate 495, which was reassigned as an unmarked route along the four mile long Falmouth Spur connecting the north end of I-295 with the Maine Turnpike mainline north of Portland. Interstate 295 in turn was extended 41 miles north over the former free portion of I-95 to Yarmouth, Freeport and Brunswick. Resigning was completed in January 10, 2004.1
The freeway loop through Portland was designated as Route B-95 by the Maine State Highway Commission on a map sent to the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) on March 24, 1958. Designated I-295, the loop was part of the urban Interstate numerology approved by AASHO on November 10, 1958.
The original construction time line for Interstate 295, per the former MaineDOT “Maine’s Interstate turns 50! web page: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