Speed limit to be reduced on I-295 from Falmouth-Topsham

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AUGUSTA — The speed limit on Interstate 295 between Falmouth and Topsham will be reduced next month from 70 mph to 65 mph.

The Maine Department of Transportation said Wednesday that crashes along the corridor had increased 29 percent since the limit rose from 65 mph to 70 mph in 2014. Traffic volume also increased by 6.4 percent, according to DOT data.

“It’s important to note, that while an increase in traffic volume on I-295 has led to more crashes, speed and driver distraction are also major factors,” DOT Chief Engineer Joyce Taylor said in a press release. “By lowering the speed limit, we hope to allow drivers more reaction time to any event that may occur on the highway.”

The speed limit reduction is due to take effect March 27. Message boards alerting motorists of the change will be posted two weeks in advance, and all the speed limit signs will be replaced by the end of March.

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  • yathink2011

    The 5MPH reduction in the speed limit won’t change anything. Until the Legislature finds some courage to make Maine a Hands Free State, like New Hampshire and many other States, accidents will continue to increase.

  • Chew H Bird

    Wow… “DOT Chief Engineer Joyce Taylor said in a press release. “By lowering the speed limit, we hope to allow drivers more reaction time to any event that may occur on the highway.”

    Allowing more reaction time is a function primarily of how close cars are to each other. A 5 mph drop in the posted speed limit will do absolutely nothing to change the distance between cars, and speeders will continue to speed regardless of a speed limit change.

    Expanding the signage prior to exit points might help raise awareness among drivers from out of state that their exit is coming up? I say this because more cars on the road (most accidents occur during summer months), result in longer delays at exit ramps, especially in Freeport, so cars are backed up a longer distance than expected.

    How about fixing the horrible exit in Yarmouth that was just created? That is an exit just waiting for a fatality?

    If distracted driving laws were enforced it would help far more than looking for speeders.

    As usual, this is the wrong solution but a feel good marketing effort at taxpayer expense to avoid fixing the real problems with exit design and distracted driving.

  • truther

    I don’t understand these comments. If lowering the speed limit 5 mph – back to what it was – is a pointless gesture having no effect on traffic, then what was the point of raising the speed limit in the first place?

    • yathink2011

      So people could drive faster. The new cell phones allow you to text and talk at higher speeds than the earlier ones.

      • truther

        Right. So if people drove faster once the speed limit was raised, it logically follows they’ll drive slower when the limit is lowered again.

        We have a highway with too many distracted drivers driving too closely together and causing too many accidents. First order of business is to get people to slow down.

        • Chew H Bird

          Actually, whether people go 65 or 70 makes no quantifiable difference if drivers are tailgating. Drivers who tailgate and talk on phones, watch a GPS, have items hanging from the rear view mirror, keep looking in the back seat at a child or pet, text, focus on a conversation with a passenger, or otherwise not paying attention to their driving are the problem.

          Lowering the speed limit is a red herring to make the public think something is actually being done to reduce accidents.

        • yathink2011

          Right. And how do you plan to do that? If you have spent any time driving the East Coast you would understand that speed limit signs mean nothing.