If you're a commuter in or out of Portland during rush hours, you've been stuck in some serious congestion on I-295. It's only a little less congested in the Portland section of I-95 which had led the Maine Turnpike Authority to ponder alternatives to remedy the problem. The MTA believes that as Portland, and surrounding towns like South Portland, Westbrook, Scarborough and Falmouth continue to grow, so too will the traffic problem on both interstates.

Maine Turnpike Authority
Maine Turnpike Authority

So the Maine Turnpike Authority has posted a list of 12 alternatives to their website, some of which could be eye-opening in terms of cost and change to the way of life. For instance, alternative #3 would add surge pricing to the Maine Turnpike. That means during the busiest hours, 7am-9am and 4pm-6pm, toll pricing would change to use the turnpike. While there isn't a dollar amount listed, other states that have implemented a similar program have doubled or tripled the normal price of the toll.

But the alternative that could have the largest impact on the most residents would be a proposed expansion of I-295. The proposal would add a lane on each side of 295 from Exit 44 on the Maine Turnpike all the way to Exit 11 on 295 at Falmouth. It would require 27 bridges to be reconstructed and would add two separate toll locations, at Tukey's Bridge and Fore River Bridge. That alternative would be costly, construction heavy and likely anger residents who are already sick of paying tolls.

You can check out all 12 alternatives proposed by the Maine Turnpike here. There's also a place to leave a comment or concern about any of the alternatives listed.

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