This 2005 photo shows the westbound Saco Industrial Spur (I-195) at EXIT 2 (US 1) in Saco. (Photo by Alex Nitzman and Carter Buchanan.)
CONNECTING THE MAINE TURNPIKE TO SACO AND THE BEACH: Interstate 195, known officially as the "Saco Industrial Spur," was planned as one of Maine's original Interstate highways during the mid-1950's. With much of the state's energies focused on completing and upgrading I-95 and I-295, I-195 remained a low priority for nearly a quarter century. However, local officials saw I-195 as a key component to revitalize Saco's industrial area, which had been in decline since the closing of the York Mills textile factory in 1958.
Work finally began on I-195 in 1980. The new four-lane spur required the construction of a new Saco interchange on the Maine Turnpike (I-95) about one-half mile north of the existing interchange at ME 112 (Buxton Road. Partial cloverleaf interchanges also were built for Industrial Park Road and US 1 (Portland Road). I-195 narrows down to one lane in each direction before transitioning directly onto ME 5 (Ocean Park Road) at the Saco-Old Orchard Beach border, where through traffic continues east to the Old Orchard Beach resort area.
In 1982, the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) opened a one-mile section of I-195 from EXIT 1 (Industrial Park Road) to the ME 5 terminus. The MaineDOT and the Maine Turnpike Authority completed the connection to the turnpike, the toll plaza, and the "trumpet" interchange at the western terminus of I-195 one year later.
According to MaineDOT, the Saco Industrial Spur carries approximately 20,000 vehicles per day (AADT).
SOURCES: "Maine's Interstate Highway System: An Investment in Safety, Mobility, and Prosperity," Maine Department of Transportation (2006); Saco Spirit; Alex Nitzman; Alexander Svirsky.
I-195 shield by Ralph Herman. Lightpost by Millerbernd Manufacturing Company.