A traffic signal will be installed at a new intersection that will be part of a project to revamp the Exit 4 interchange in South Portland. Contributed / Maine DOT

South Portland residents will find it easier to access I-295 South when a new on-ramp is installed at Exit 4, a project that the state Department of Transportation believes will also alleviate traffic in other areas of the city.

Construction is scheduled to begin this fall and be completed by the fall of 2025, according to MDOT.

There is now no access to I-295 South in the Exit 4 area. Contributed / Maine DOT

The current interchange provides access only to I-295 North and the Veterans Memorial Bridge, leading many residents and commuters in the Pleasantdale and Cash Corner neighborhoods to trek across the city to access the southbound highway.

“I think it’s going to be a huge improvement for folks living in South Portland,” said Project Manager Ernie Martin of MDOT. “That’s going to alleviate some of the stress out at those peak traffic hours.”

The interchange is not only a quality-of-life improvement but is intended to make traveling South Portland’s busiest streets and intersections both easier and safer during peak traffic hours. The new on-ramp will likely make commuters less reliant on the city’s busiest roads and most dangerous intersections if they are heading south of the city, Martin said.

One of those intersections is Cash Corner, where Broadway and Main Street cross near Dairy Queen and Walgreens. Both roads lead to other highway entry points in the city, so the intersection is naturally a busy one. There were 34 motor vehicle crashes at the intersection from 2019 through 2021, according to South Portland Police Officer Rocco Navarro of the department’s traffic unit. Data for 2022 was not available from the state.


The intersection of Broadway and Westbrook Street, located near I-295 South Exit 3, saw 54 automobile crashes from 2020 to 2022 with injuries reported in 13 of them, according to MDOT. The intersection of Main Street and the Turnpike Approach near Exit 2, which is one of the city’s current connections to I-295 Southbound, is also considered a high-crash intersection with 32 crashes in that timespan, four resulting in injuries.

The new Exit 4 interchange will also come with a traffic signal and a new intersection.

Drivers coming from Veterans Memorial Bridge to Route 1/Main Street in South Portland currently merge with the I-295 South Exit 4 off-ramp, but with the new project, the ramp will carry two-way traffic, creating an intersection.

“That’s going to obviously be a big change,” Martin said. “As we always say, change is sometimes difficult but, in the end, I think this is going to be a huge improvement.”

The Exit 4 ramp is partially a bridge over I-295 and its infrastructure will receive some attention during the project.

“The bridge deck of the structure has reached its service life,” said Devan Eaton, senior project manager with MDOT. “Our plan for the project is to replace the concrete deck, do some patching on some of the substructures (and) physically replace one of the piers.”

While the bridge itself won’t be widened, major alterations will have to be made so that it can support two-way traffic.

The department considered a number of options, from small patchwork to replacing the bridge entirely, but decided that the planned rehabilitation will “still get another 50-plus years” out of the bridge, Eaton said.

Martin said it is too early in the process to give a concrete estimate on the project’s cost.

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