Maine is considering adding a new rest area – with truck
parking – that would serve both the turnpike – which carries Interstate 95 – as
well as I-295.
A state official said that one of the chief reasons the
state is looking the idea over is the need for more truck parking in the area.
The plan is in the very preliminary stages at this point.
However, the state is considering a site already owned by the Maine Turnpike
Authority about six miles south of the state capital, Augusta.
site – about 40 acres – is at mile marker 51 on I-295, and near mile marker 103
on the Turnpike, Bruce Pelletier, a public affairs assistant with the Maine
Turnpike Authority, told Land
If it is built, the rest area would be accessible from both highways.
that’s where we would want to have it,” Pelletier said. However, “nothing is
set in stone.”
depends on if the financing comes together; and if we can’t secure all the
financing for the full project, then there might be an alternative proposal put
is not certain how much truck parking would be included in the rest area. Truck
parking in state rest areas is “fairly limited,” Pelletier said, which is “part
of the reason why we are looking at building this site, is to accommodate some
Many truckers who work along the East Coast
have expressed concerns about the lack of truck parking along the I-95
corridor; if you want to share your view with the Maine Turnpike Authority or
tell them about truck parking needs in the area, you can write them at MTA, 430
Riverside St., Portland, ME, 04103, or you can write the Maine DOT at 16
Statehouse Station, August, ME, 04333.
aware that there is a need,” Pelletier said. “If there are people interested in
supplying us some information on their view of what the need is, we’d be happy
to hear from them.”
Many, if not most, of the design specifics have yet to be
worked out – even whether the rest area would be accessible to both north and
southbound traffic, he said, although that is likely.
At this point, there is no opposition to building the rest
area, but Pelletier said the public in the area has only recently become aware
of the project, after a story ran in The Kennebec Journal, the newspaper in the state capital of
“We’ve had contact with some abutting land owners,” he
said. “There’s a question as to whether or not it would be built at all. So we
haven’t had any vocal opposition to it.”
The rest area plan is just the latest of a series of
highway improvements in that area. The state just finished upgrading the
southern section of the Turnpike, including widening a 30-mile section and
upgrading interchanges and bridges. Upgrading service plazas is the next
Turnpike officials are trying to work out a financing
package that would involve the state’s Department of Transportation and others.
If it does move forward, it may not be in operation anytime soon.
“By the time you get to your environmental permits, and you
get your design put in, and you get plans done and you secure the financing, it
could be two years, it could be seven or eight years; it’s hard to say” Pelletier said.
– By Mark H. Reddig, associate editor