The Maine Turnpike – A National Historic Landmark

maine_turnpike

Oh the joy’s of the Maine Turnpike. The stretch of road that goes from York, ME to Gardiner, ME that has a very “solid” pricing system. It took more than 8 trips for me to move from Douglas, MA to Auburn, ME. In those trips, a round trip would cost in tolls 10.50. That means in terms of a total figure would be almost 100 dollars in toll money.
At first I was skeptical about the voracious appetite of the Turnpike for my money. But as I learned more about it, it made more and more sense to why it really is so high. The Turnpike is the only one of t’s kind in the country to pay for its own maitenance and upgrades entirely on it’s own. That is no small feat for a road that gets punded by brutal Maine winters. The road itseld is a landmark. It is officialy classified as a Civil Engineering Landmark. Innovative and revolutionary techniques were applied for the first time on the road. The Turnpike Authority has a very good history on their website and I suggest everyone checks it out. Here is an exerpt from it.

Mile-A-Minute Highway

In 1947, when the Authority cut the ribbon on the new road, the Maine Turnpike was the first superhighway built in the postwar era and one of only two modern toll highways in existence in the United States (the Pennsylvania Turnpike opened in 1940). With four wide, clearly marked lanes and a wide grass median, an innovative safety feature at the time, the Maine Turnpike provided a vision of the future of transportation. The highway was straight, swift, safe and efficient. Few people in Maine had ever had the chance to travel at 60 miles per hour. That was why, when the highway opened on a cold day on December 13, 1947, the Portland Press Herald dubbed it the “Mile-A-Minute” highway.

The Maine Turnpike was the first superhighway in the world to be paved entirely with asphalt—not concrete. This decision raised the eyebrows of highway engineers who thought concrete was the only material suitable to build highway lanes. Many skeptics from around the world were invited to see for themselves the value and durability asphalt under Maine’s extreme weather conditions and left impressed.

Back then, the amounts of snowfall during a Maine winter were legendary. In order to clear the Turnpike efficiently, the Turnpike commissioned what is believed to be the first left-handed snow plow in this country. This highway operations “first” was considered an important advance, and representatives from several of the country’s new superhighways came to witness the new plow in action. Today “lefthanders” are standard issue for highway maintenance crews throughout the nation.

 

 

Here is the link to the site…..

 

http://www.maineturnpike.com/about/history_of_the_mta.php

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