Maine State Police said Monday’s messy weather accomplished what lowering the speed limit from 70 mph to 65 mph on a stretch of Interstate 295 set out to do: slowed down drivers.

A mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain coated roads and got most people to slow down Monday morning, but the weather couldn’t keep everyone from speeding.

State police said an early-morning speed enforcement detail in Freeport resulted in more warnings than speeding tickets. But one person was charged with driving with a suspended license.

“There weren’t many stops today for speeding. It was the weather,” said Sgt.Tyler Stevenson, the state trooper in charge of managing speed enforcement along the busy stretch of highway.

On Monday, the Maine Department of Transportation lowered the speed limit on I-295 between Falmouth and Topsham, a stretch where crashes increased dramatically after the limit was raised to 70 mph in 2014.

An analysis of radar readings showed average speeds of 78-81 mph, about 10 mph faster than before the speed limit was raised.


Stevenson said state police hope the lower speed limit will give drivers who are following others too closely or driving distracted more time to react to traffic slowing down in front of them.

“If people will drive just a little slower, it should help,” he said.

Stevenson said state police decided to do an early-morning speed enforcement detail in Freeport on the first morning with the lower speed limit. Only one person got a speeding ticket, while 10 received warnings for exceeding the limit.

Stevenson said state police want to give drivers enough time to adjust to the lower speed, so it wouldn’t be fair to hand out speeding tickets immediately after the limit was lowered.

“We do have plans for more focused speed enforcement details in the spring,” he said.

Ted Talbot, spokesman for the Department of Transportation, said more changes are in store for drivers who use I-295.


Variable message boards warning of accidents ahead will be placed at all exit ramps, giving drivers a chance to change routes to avoid delays.

“We are going to strive for more dynamic messaging,” Talbot said.

Plans are already in the works to lengthen I-295 entry ramps. The northbound entry ramp in Falmouth, which Talbot said is too short, is a top priority.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at791-6365 or at:

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