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Route 1 bypass of Wiscasset is dead
Wiscassett bills itself as "the prettiest village in Maine," but to thousands of drivers each summer it is the biggest bottleneck in Maine. And it seems that this troublesome tie up for northbound traffic is destined to continue for as far as you can imagine.
"After 40 years and more than $2.5 million in planning and engineering costs, a Route 1 bypass in Wiscasset is dead and not coming back to life, according the the Maine Department of Transportation," reported The Free Press (8-4-11).
This is particularly troublesome because if you enter Maine from the south on I-95/295, sooner or later you will find yourself on US 1, the so-called coastal route. And that means you are going through Wiscasset and you will likely face a grueling backup than is often several miles long.
Typically, northbound travelers seeking to get to the midcoast area exit I295 at Brunswick, then proceed through Bath to the Wiscasset bridge — and the famed Wiscasset backup. The same when you are heading south, especially on a Sunday.
Instead of that conventional route, we suggest a un-tied-up alternative.
Take the 95/295 combination to Augusta, then head east on Route 17, which will take you right into the Rockport-Camden-Rockalnd trio — and completely bypassing troublesome wiscasset and the congestion of Brunswick and the slow up in Bath.
Maine cops ready with speeding tickets
If you decide to drive in from the south, watch out for the State Police on I-95 and I-295. Recently, they’ve seemed to be especially aggressive on the Maine Turnpike and on the interstate stretch around Freeport.
The National Motorist Association ranks all 50 state from best to worst on their attitude about speeding. Low scores mean they rank high, and have a bad attitude about speeding.
The six New England states are fairly aggressive, with Maine at about mid-way for the region, but in the top 30% nationwide.
Here's the breakdown: Massachusetts, 10; Vermont, 16; Maine, 17; Rhode Island, 22; New Hampshire, 24; and Connecticut, 32. MSN has a story on the highway ticketing tendencies of the police; click this link.
Getting about demands patience
Even if you arrive by plane, in the end you will be driving. And driving in Maine - especially during the summer-- requires patience.
Since Maine has only two seasons — winter and road-repair — the summer must serve multiple purposes: repairing snowplow damage [which this year, is quite extensive] and expediting tourists' flow in and out of the state.