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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2 Responses

  1. I just stopped by your blog and thought I would say hello. I like your site design. Looking forward to reading more down the road.

  2. I just read your blog about the Maine Turnpike and am very pleased that you had shared so much with your readers concerning our road is maintained by the revenues brought in from toll collections. I am one of the toll collectors and am proud to be part of this! However, our jobs are in peril of being eliminated through attrition due to automation. Us toll collectors love servicing our customers daily, many of whom are regulars and know us by name and vice versa! We look forward to seeing them daily as well..we salute to the military that frequents the turnpike and share road conditions and the score for the Red Sox and other sports for the patrons! What automated toll booth can do all that plus give directions? We deserve to keep our jobs and to play in the big league by paying our taxes…Maine is a hard place to survive and we can’t afford to lose our jobs. Most of us are over the age of 45; what other jobs are out there that will enable us to keep our homes and retire free of welfare? Thanks for your blog and the chance to communicate!

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