Maine Turnpike Marks 70 Years

Dec 13, 2017

The Maine Turnpike reached a significant milestone Wednesday — the 47-mile stretch of the toll highway running from Kittery to Portland opened 70 years ago.

Spokesperson Erin Courtney says a number of firsts were marked when the Turnpike opened. For example, with its posted 60 mph speed limit, the pike was Maine’s first mile-per-minute highway. Courtney says before that, the Kittery-Portland trip along Route 1 took the better part of a day rather than 47 minutes.

She says the Maine Turnpike was America’s first asphalt superhighway.

“Up until the Maine Turnpike was created, concrete was considered the only way to go,” she says.

Eight years to the day after the Portland-Kittery stretch opened, Gov. Ed Muskie cut the ribbon that opened the 66-mile Turnpike extension running to Augusta.