Interstate 295 or I -295 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Maine. Connecting the small metropolitan area of Portland to Gardiner in the south of the state, the highway is an alternative to Interstate 95 toll road, which heads a little further inland. The route is 84 kilometers long.
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I-295 at South Portland.
I-295 at Downtown Portland.
On the south side of Portland, the largest city in the state, I-295 branches off from Interstate 95, the Maine Turnpike. The highway has 2×2 lanes and opens up downtown Portland. One crosses an estuary from the Atlantic Ocean twice. Portland is not that big and people quickly return to the countryside. I-295 continues north along the coast and US 1 runs parallel to the route. After about 50 kilometers from the start you reach the town of Brunswick, a regional town on the coast. From here, I-295 continues inland parallel to the Kennebec River. This area consists of forests and hills. Here the US 201 runs parallel to the road. At Gardiner, not far south of the capital Augusta, I-295 rejoins I-95, which continues to Augusta and Bangor.
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The highway was opened through north Portland sometime between 1960 and 1965. In 1978 the entire route was complete in Portland. Exact opening dates for the Portland to Gardiner section are unknown. From 1960 to 2004, I-295 ran only in the city of Portland, as I-95 ran over current I-295 north of the city. Beginning in 2004, I-95 was routed entirely over the Maine Turnpike, continuing inland via Auburn/Lewiston, and the remainder of the route became I-295.
I-295 is widely used by through traffic to avoid the toll on the Maine Turnpike (I-95) between Gardiner and Portland.
Every day, 60,000 to 75,000 vehicles pass through Portland, descending to 52,000 vehicles at Yarmouth and 32,000 vehicles at Brunswick. Up to I-95 at Gardiner, there are 20,000 vehicles per day. This makes I-295 considerably busier than the parallel I-95.