Interstate 495 Maine
Interstate 495 overlays the Falmouth Spur, the Maine Turnpike connector between the mainline (I-95) and I-295. The toll road formerly carried I-95 away from the Maine Turnpike to its free route north to Brunswick and Gardiner. There are no exits between the two Interstates, but the east end of the Falmouth Spur does provide access to U.S. 1 in the town of Falmouth.
The Falmouth Spur opened as part of the Maine Turnpike in 1955. It was incorporated as part of the Interstate 95 alignment around Portland in 1956.3 The Maine Turnpike main line north from the west end of the spur to Auburn, Lewiston and West Gardiner was unnumbered.
With Congress passing a law in 1987 that raised the national speed limit from 55 to 65 miles per hour, the state of Maine sought to include all of the Maine Turnpike into the Interstate system. Since the increased speed limit was allowed only on rural Interstate highways, the turnpike outside of I-95 was not applicable. Approved by AASHTO on December 4, 1987, Interstate 495 was established along 50.47 miles of the toll road from Portland to West Gardiner.
Changes for the Maine Interstate system were submitted by Maine to AASHTO, and approved on October 11, 2002. They outlined relocating Interstate 95 westward from the Falmouth Spur and the freeway north from to Brunswick and West Gardiner wholly onto the Maine Turnpike, over what was previously Interstate 495. Interstate 295 was extended northward over former I-95 from Yarmouth to Gardiner. Interstate 495 was then legislatively reapplied to the Falmouth Spur between I-95 and I-295. I-495 was not signed because Maine considered the Falmouth Spur to be just a “ramp”. Sign changes were implemented on January 5, 2004 and completed on January 10th.1
The relocation of Interstate 495 also coincided with a statewide renumbering of all Maine Interstate exits from a sequential-based system to a mile based system. Completed by May 15, 2004, Maine was the first New England state to adopt the national standard.2
- East End – Falmouth, ME
West End – Portland, ME
Mileage – 4.39 westbound/ 4.28 eastbound
Cities – Portland
- Junctions –
Source: MaineDOT Map Viewer
The December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List still references the pre-2004 mileage of 50.47.
East End – Falmouth, Maine
The east end of unsigned I-495 has a loop ramp for I-295 north to Freeport, Brunswick and Bath and a trumpet interchange with adjacent U.S. 1 (Blue Star Memorial Highway) north to Yarmouth and south to Portland. There is no direct access to I-295 south. Instead motorists are directed onto U.S. 1 south and Bucknam Road west to make the connection. Photo by Sheila Schumacher (05/20/04).
Entering the folded diamond interchange (Exit 10) with Bucknam Road on Interstate 295 north. Bucknam Road links the freeway with Route 9 (Middle Road) to the west and U.S. 1 to the east. I-295 next passes under the Falmouth Spur, with only a northbound entrance ramp and southbound off-ramp joining the two. 06/27/05
West End – Portland, Maine
A toll plaza collects fares for both directions of traffic along the Falmouth Spur midway between Interstate 295 and the Presumpscot River. Heading west from the toll collection point, a pair of signs direct motorists into the appropriate lane for Interstate 95 north to Augusta and south to Portland and Kittery. 06/27/05
Unsigned I-495 west concludes at a trumpet interchange. Interstate 95 southbound travels seven miles to South Portland and 56 miles to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Leading away from the Portland area, the Maine Turnpike north continues 25 miles to Auburn and 30 miles to Lewiston. Photo by Sheila Schumacher (05/20/04).
Exit 52 departs from Interstate 95 (Maine Turnpike) north for the Falmouth Spur (unsigned I-495). Interstate 495 arcs east across the Presumpscot into the town of Falmouth, connecting the turnpike with I-295 north to Freeport and U.S. 1 north to Yarmouth. Photo by Sheila Schumacher (05/20/04).
Historic South End
- Interstate I-95 Redesignation & Re-numbering Information
http://www.state.me.us/mdot/maines-transportation-systems/I-95-redesignation.php, Maine Department of Transportation.
- “Highway switcheroo slated for I-95, I-495 and I-295.” The Times Record News, December 24, 2003.
- Maine’s Interstate System: An Investment in Safety, Mobility, and Prosperity
http://www.state.me.us/mdot/interstate/index.php,Maine Department of Transportation
Page updated May 7, 2020.