Big Changes Coming For the Gray Exit of the Maine Turnpike
The Maine Turnpike is making changes to Gray Exit 63 this spring that should help with the congestion there.
The Gray exit is a major gateway for commuters and tourists alike. People who live west of Gray up through the Oxford Hills area travel Route 26 to connect to Exit 63 as their entry to the Maine Turnpike to travel anywhere south. Commuters get backed up here in the morning at evening on almost a daily basis. In addition, traffic coming from the Windham and Lakes Region area via route 202 use the Gray exit to hop on the Turnpike.
In 2004 the amount of traffic was making it difficult to get through Gray because you had to go through Gray village. To alleviate that the Maine DOT constructed the Route 26 bypass, now labeled Route 26A that routed the busy road around the village.
That change helped, but created a new bottleneck. There's only one ramp for both south bound and north bound entry. You only have to pay a toll when headed south, but even so things can get pretty backed up at peak times like commutes and ski season because everyone going to and coming from 26A has turn at two lights to get where they're going.
This spring, the Maine Turnpike will reconfigure the Gray Exit by tearing down the toll booth and moving the southbound ramp new southbound ramp to be constructed where the current Park 'N Ride is at the light at the intersection of Routes 202 and 26A. A new and larger Park 'N Ride will be built along Route 26A.
To put it simply, the old tool booth goes away and becomes the northbound only ramp with no toll. A new southbound ramp is built across from the end of Route 26A with a new three lane tollbooth. That will keep the flow of traffic from 26A moving swiftly.
This is good news because the Gray exit has been a traffic mess for years now.
Here's the official list of changes from the Maine Turnpike:
- Relocation of the southbound ramps to the west side of the Maine Turnpike to form a four legged intersection with the Gray Bypass;
- Removal of the existing southbound ramps bridge and the existing ramp pavement;
- Reconstruction and pavement rehabilitation of the NB ramps;
- Provide parallel acceleration lanes for the proposed SB and existing NB on ramps;
- Provide improvements at the existing Route 202 intersection with the Gray Bypass and at the existing ramps intersection;
- Provide minor bridge repairs to the Route 202 Bridge over the Maine Turnpike;
- Signalization improvements along Route 202 from the Gray Bypass to the downtown intersection at Brown Street;
- Elimination of the existing park and ride located on the west side of the Maine Turnpike (a new park and ride will be constructed along the Gray Bypass)
- Construction of a new three lane Toll Plaza along the relocated southbound on ramp;
- Removal of the existing toll plaza; and
- Inclusion of ramp gantry’s for the SB and NB off ramps.
Look for construction to begin in the spring of 2016 and take a little over a year to complete by summer of 2017.