Letter: Speed reduction on I-295 makes sense

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Foremost among my duties as a legislator is to ensure the safety of Maine citizens, especially those in my own district.

In 2014 the maximum speed on Interstate 295 was raised from 65 mph to 70 mph. Since that change there has been a substantial rise in traffic accidents and deaths. This uptick has been especially noticeable on the stretch of highway between Brunswick and Falmouth.

According to data compiled by the Maine Department of Transportation, this 22-mile section has seen an increase in traffic volume of 6.4 percent and a nearly 30 percent increase in accidents. The highway is especially dangerous during the morning and evening commutes.

In the face of hard facts like these, doing nothing was not an option. I introduced legislation, with bi-partisan support, to reduce the speed limit on this part of I-295. This week I was pleased to learn that MDOT, in response to both the legislation and their own studies, has decided to decrease the speed limit back to 65 mph between Falmouth and Brunswick.

Solving important problems with common-sense solutions is one of the pleasures of serving in the Maine Legislature. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to represent you, and I hope you will contact me with your concerns and ideas regarding state government.

State Rep. Teresa Pierce

  • yathink2011

    Another common sense solution would be to introduce, and then pass, a bill to make Maine a hands free driving State. But the courage is lacking in Augusta.

  • Chew H Bird

    The legislation will not reduce to problem and will consume resources. Traffic increase percentages are not linear regarding accident frequency. Introducing legislation without understanding the actual statistics, basic physics, and contributing factors, (time of year, out of state vs in state drivers, exit ramp design, merge scenarios into local traffic, signage distances and visibility, all lead to this type of feel good “but no cigar” legislation.

    If we want to fix the problem, fix the exit ramps and signage issues. Differences in speed create accidents, not the speed itself. When traffic is backed up so people don’t have adequate time to prepare for an exit accidents happen. When exits are mis-designed to the point (Yarmouth), cars can easily slide off the road it is a problem. When there is a traffic light close to an exit accidents happen.

    This legislation is well intended and severely mis-guided by a lack of understanding of driver habits, politically influenced by State Police recommendation who want to appear to be trying to do something to fix the problem, and legislative failure to understand the difference between actually correcting a problem and making it look like they are trying to fix a problem.

    Please do your homework before submitting additional legislation that wastes taxpayer dollars.

  • Burnsy

    The major problem is at Yarmouth, where people seem to forget how to drive!