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  • Bangor Daily News

    More than 1 million vehicles expected on Maine Turnpike this weekend

    By Michael Shepherd,

    23 days ago

    AUGUSTA, Maine — More than 1 million vehicles are expected on the Maine Turnpike this weekend, which would be both a record and a slight bump from last year at the unofficial opening of the state’s vaunted summer tourism season.

    From Friday through Memorial Day on Monday, the Maine Turnpike Authority expects nearly 1.03 million vehicles on the road connecting New Hampshire with the Augusta area. That would be just over 2 percent higher than last year, when traffic narrowly crested over the 1 million mark. The highest level of travel in 20 years is expected across the country this weekend.

    Friday is expected to be the busiest day as northbound travelers stream into the state from the south. The busiest stretch will be from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. as more than 342,000 vehicles are expected to travel the turnpike, according to the authority’s projections.

    This will mark the first year that the Maine Turnpike Authority and partnering agencies will use a dynamic system that will open the right shoulders of the highway in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and neighboring Kittery to traffic at peak times to alleviate congestion. That will cover three miles of road between the two states.

    Memorial Day traffic has been on a steady rebound since travel was stunted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. Rural areas saw bigger gains than the typical coastal tourism areas when travel increased the following year. This year’s Memorial Day projection is 9 percent higher than the traffic in 2021.

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