A map of the Scarborough portion of the proposed Gorham Connector. The road is in yellow, blue represents bodies of water, dark green is where wetlands are possible and light green is where the turnpike authority has surveyed and confirmed wetlands to be. Contributed / Maine Turnpike Authority

Out of the approximately 50 landowners who would be impacted by the proposed Gorham Connector, 35 are in Scarborough, the Maine Turnpike Authority told the Scarborough Town Council last week.

The turnpike authority has secured the rights to one-third of the Scarborough properties and another third are in negotiations. The remaining properties would involve small easements, such as taking slivers of front lawns or backyards.

Turnpike officials have had “astonishingly successful relationships” with landowners so far, Peter Mills, executive director of the turnpike authority, said at the Feb. 21 council workshop.

“We’ve had extremely good communications, kitchen table discussions, with everybody along the road,” Mills said. “There are probably four or five (properties) that need to be bought, but we’ve had good conversations with each owner.”

The turnpike authority has used eminent domain for the project once so far for an undeveloped property, officials said.

The four-lane, 5-mile connector, with the goal of alleviating traffic on heavily traveled two-lane Route 22, would start at the Rines Bypass at Route 22 in Gorham, cut through northern Scarborough along the Westbrook border, and end at turnpike Exit 45 near the Maine Mall in South Portland. The estimated cost of the more than $200 million would be paid through connector tolls. Construction could begin in 2026 with completion by 2030.


Roughly two-thirds of the proposed road would go through Scarborough and interchanges are proposed at Running Hill and County Roads.

Council Chair Nick McGee questioned why there is a proposed access to the connector at Running Hill Road so close to the planned Exit 45 access.

“I could get all the way to Exit 45 and work my way back to Running Hill Road,” McGee said.

Paul Godfrey of HNTB Corporation, a consultant for the turnpike authority, said the Running Hill Road access addresses a goal of the project: to ease traffic and make traveling in the area safer throughout the corridor. A connection at Running Hill Road would help alleviate traffic, for example, on Payne Road in Scarborough and Maine Mall Road in South Portland, he said.

“The opportunity to be able to take traffic away from those roads, put them either on the connector, or the ability to get on at Running Hill Road and not have to travel those six, eight, 10, 12 signals you have to go through, the benefit in efficiency, the benefit in safety, in our opinion, is very obvious,” Godfrey said.

Residents at the workshop were concerned the connection at Running Hill Road and farther west at County Road would impact traffic on those roads.


“Part of this project is also looking at what other improvements would need to be made,” Godfrey said. “You can’t just fix something and drop a problem on someplace else, so part of this is addressing those other improvements that are needed to make sure everything is safe and efficient.”

Some residents and councilors also said they were concerned about the connector’s impact on wetlands.

“One of the challenges this project presents is most of this area is wet,” Godfrey said. “That doesn’t mean we’re not trying to be mindful of how much wetland is being affected.”

The turnpike authority is working with the Army Corps of Engineers, Maine Department of Environmental Protection and other entities to ensure they keep the impact on wetlands as low as possible and to conduct mitigation efforts, he said.

Mills said there is also the opportunity to preserve some wetlands and open land on larger properties they purchase, which is already in the works for two properties in Gorham.

“One of the things we might wind up doing is offering up, as part of the mitigation, a fair amount of ground (for preservation) of existing wetlands and open land,” Mills said. “There is some significant, very interesting open land in this region that actually deserves to be preserved and kept.”

Another public meeting on the Gorham Connector will be held in Gorham on March 25, with another to be held in Scarborough sometime in May.

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