Scarborough Town Hall

Scarborough Town Hall

SCARBOROUGH —The Maine Turnpike Authority is proposing a new bypass to ease congestion along the areas west of Greater Portland. That congestion has placed significant strain on the region’s road system including in Scarborough.

On Dec. 1, the Scarborough Town Council held a workshop during which the MTA presented its plans for the proposed bypass. The bypass appears to be the best way to find a sustainable, environmentally-responsible, locally supported and financially-viable solution to the chronic traffic congestion in the region, according to information from the MTA. Daily rush hour congestion on Route 114, Route 22, and Running Hill Road is the worst in Maine and with traffic backups over a mile long occur, according to the MTA. Because of the congestion, many Scarborough drivers are becoming more and more frustrated with driving conditions. For several decades, an east-west road connection between Gorham and Portland was considered a way to relieve some of the traffic congestion on existing roads, but was never intended to accommodate the increasing volume of traffic. The proposed by-pass would be designed to address the problem of the higher rate of traffic, the MTA states.

The exact location of the bypass has not been determined yet. 

“It’s an exciting project that’s long overdue,” Scarborough Town Council Chair John Cloutier said. “Unfortunately, the proposed path is not available yet, but we do expect it to be published early next year. The MTA’s Executive Director Peter Mills did walk us through the likely path with a pointer during the workshop, but I’m not sure that it would be easy to follow. The connector would start at the new Exit 45 interchange and end at the current Gorham bypass rotary. The rotary would be converted to a signalized intersection; and the road would pass through one-half of the golf course, the edge.”

In 2007, the Legislature passed a resolve directing the Maine Department of Transportation and the Maine Turnpike Authority to study the possibility of an east-west connector. The MTA considered the construction of a new tolled limited-access highway connection from Exit 45 off I-95 to Gorham. Scarborough, along with several other affected municipalities, were very active in the study and planning process. Much time has passed, therefore most current local elected officials were not previously involved . The MTA arranged the Dec. 1 workshop and will hold future workshops to review what was done in the past and what the next steps would be.

Scarborough is just one place where workshops about a proposed bypass are being held.

They anticipate that three homes in Scarborough and three in Gorham would need to be purchased to construct the road, in addition to other parcels,” Cloutier said. “They have started acquiring land as they come on the market and have been in communication with the property owners.”

The Maine Turnpike Authority will begin holding public hearings starting next month to discuss the proposed four-lane connector. To learn more, visit the website

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