It took almost two years of work, with many reduced speeds and orange barrels on the Maine Turnpike through Portland, but the end is near. The Portland Area Widening Project that adds a third lane in each direction on the Maine Turnpike through Portland is almost completed. However, a few more exit closures need to happen to get the job done.

The Maine Turnpike announced on its Facebook page on Monday that the widening project is coming to a close sometime this week, and that the sections of the stretch through Portland with three lanes will be opened in stages, the first being between Exits 44 and 46.

There will be some traffic pattern changes, but they'll be easy to follow. The northbound off-ramp for Exit 44, Scarborough, will close overnight on Thursday, September 21, so you should detour using Exit 45.

With the completion of the widening project through Portland, the Maine Turnpike will be three lanes wide north and southbound all the way from Portland to the state line into New Hampshire.

A similar project began in 1999 to widen 30 miles off the southern end of the Maine Turnpike to three lanes to alleviate traffic congestion. That project took five years to complete, which included replacing 13 bridges and widening five others to accommodate the three lanes.

It's not over yet, though, so as you drive on the Turnpike, be aware of construction speed limits and stick to them for the safety of the crews that have been working since the project began.

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