The proposed connector road between Gorham and the Maine Mall area would be a “win-win for Westbrook,” improving traffic in the city with few if any downsides for the city, officials said Monday.

“It alleviates concerns we continue to hear as representatives of our constituents of the morning and afternoon traffic,” City Council President Anna Turcotte said following a presentation on the project from the Maine Turnpike Authority. “I do see this as a win-win for Westbrook.”

The estimated $220 million 6-mile toll road connector is aimed at easing heavy commuter traffic on state and local roads. It would link the Bernard P. Rines Bypass in Gorham with the turnpike’s interchange at Exit 45 in South Portland.

Aside from a bridge crossing over some Westbrook property, it would have little notable impact on the city while improving traffic, City Administrator Jerre Bryant said, unlike Scarborough and Gorham, which would see significant construction.

The turnpike is considering building a bridge over Brackett Road and the Stroudwater River  near Saco Street and the Gorham and Scarborough town lines. 

“There is a place where the river comes very close to the road to a point it is feasible to put one bridge across both instead of two bridges,”  Peter Mills, executive director of the turnpike authority, said at the meeting. 


The connector’s route will be finalized in January.

The connector is expected to ease traffic congestion on Saco and Main streets and Routes 22 and 25, which are heavy commuter routes, Mills and Mayor Mike Foley said.

The road is also projected to pay for itself, Mills said.

The toll on the road we believe will be sufficient to pay for the road,” Mills said. “We believe that to be the case, but there are few solid numbers to give you until the project goes to bid in 2025 or 2026. We don’t have a decision on concrete numbers.”

The turnpike authority is seeking votes of support for the project from Westbrook, Gorham, South Portland and Scarborough.

The town of Scarborough recently requested minor changes in the plan. It is seeking assurances that the turnpike authority would obtain property needed for the project as amicably as possible and that it will minimize impacts to wetlands, essential habitat and the Red Brook watershed in that town. It also wants the turnpike authority to create an advisory committee to assist with the location, design and development of the connector. The committee would advise on commuter parking, sustainability and other issues.

The Westbrook council Monday put off its vote of support until January so it has time review the changes made at Scarborough’s request. The Gorham Town Council on Dec. 7 also decided to delay its vote pending the revisions.

Foley advocated for the council’s approval, noting that it has been in the works for years and tentatively won council support 2017 after many communities asked the turnpike authority to find a solution to the increased traffic congestion.

The turnpike authority plans to begin a series of public meetings on the project in January. At that time, the proposed route will be finalized and more specific information will be available. Mills assured the council that the hearing process will be extensive and include all property abutters.

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