March 28, 2013

Bill allowing 75 mph on I-295 advances

By Nathan Burgess nburgess@pressherald.com
Staff writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Interstate 295 just north of Freeport.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Traffic flows along Interstate 295 near the Falmouth exit on Wednesday March 27, 2013. A bill now before the Legislature would allow Maine's transportation commissioner to raise the speed limit to 75 mph on I-195 and Interstate 95.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

"There are too many exits between Scarborough and Topsham to raise the speed limit there," he wrote. "For a reason unknown to me drivers who use I-295 between Scarborough and Yarmouth seem to be very confused and unable to drive safely."

The Maine Department of Transportation apparently agrees, saying it's likely to consider raising the speed limit north of the Topsham exits. "That is one of the top possibilities," said Ted Talbot, spokesman for the department, but "traffic studies and consultation with public safety and other public entities would have to happen before that."

Raising the speed limit anywhere on the highway would take thought, Talbot said. The number of ramps, the traffic volume and drivers' average speed would all have to be taken into account.

Lorenzo Rozzi of Windham isn't convinced that a 75-mph speed limit is a good idea anywhere.

"You've got to think that 65, 75 is really 75, 85 anyway because that's how fast people actually go," said Rozzi, who owns City Center News in Portland.

Larry Niles, director of finance and administration at the Family Planning Association of Maine in Augusta, drives 55 miles from Falmouth to get to work each day. If there's any place he can see increasing the speed limit, it's the stretch of I-295 between Brunswick and Augusta. "The reality is, 74 is pretty much standard to most people," he said.

State House Bureau Writer Michael Shepherd contributed to this report.

Nathan Burgess can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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