The Maine Turnpike Authority has been busy working on major improvements to the highway through Portland and South Portland. A project funded by Turnpike tolls is widening the Turnpike in that area from four lanes to six, three lanes in each direction. It also includes the replacement of bridges, new exit ramps and new toll booths all to help with the flow of traffic.

If you travel on the Maine Turnpike through the Portland area, you would be hard-pressed to miss this major construction. Concrete barriers blocking off closed lanes, bright orange warning signs and digital message boards conveying information, and lots and lots of construction workers in the area.

With all that's going on in this area, the speed limit has been lowered in the work zone from 60 mph to 50 mph. The fact that it is normally 60 mph through here probably comes as a surprise to a lot of drivers, who tend to think that all highway speed limits are 70 or higher.

I've driven through this construction zone many times and I do 50 mph. It doesn't matter if construction workers are present or not, I'm doing 50 and people will come up on my bumper super fast ignoring the speed limit signs.

On my last trip, however, two drivers who were going well above the 50 mph work zone speed limit were pulled over by State Troopers. I passed two of them that had stopped drivers just a mere football field away from each other.

The 50 mph limit is there not only for the safety of construction workers but for drivers as well. The traffic patterns change quickly in the work zone, so if you're going too fast, you might find a concrete barrier right in front of you if you aren't paying attention.

So remember, it's 50 mph in the construction zone. If you get stopped and get a ticket, you'll be paying double the normal fine. Is double the fine worth saving yourself a few minutes to get to where you want to go?

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