The Gorham Spur: Spurring Growth without Spurring Sprawl

On April 7, 2022, GrowSmart Maine hosted a webinar, "The Gorham Spur: Spurring Growth without Spurring Sprawl"  in response to hearing differing opinions about plans for a spur road connecting Gorham and the Maine Turnpike. The panel included representatives from Smart Growth America, the Maine Turnpike Authority, GPCOG, and the impacted municipalities. Panelists provided national, statewide, regional, and municipal perspectives on the status and intended goals of the project and addressed concerns about its impact on local communities and the environment. 

Gorham Spur 1

Project planning is ongoing and there are a number of ways for members of the public to stay engaged. The MTA is planning to launch the public engagement process for the proposed project in the coming months. More information can be found here. PACTS, the regional transportation planning agency, is also embarking on a study of a Rapid Transit Bus for communities west of Portland. GrowSmart Maine will continue to work to keep members and the public informed of milestones in this process and opportunities to participate in the process. 

Following the webinar, GrowSmart Maine continues to evaluate the ways we can best support sustainable solutions. 

GrowSmart Maine acknowledges that:

  • Ongoing traffic issues are causing hardships for residents, businesses, commuters, and municipalities. Impacted communities have begun to take steps towards this objective but barriers exist to implementing strategies to relieve commuter congestion.
  • The spur road is not a sustainable, smart solution.  Maine can do better.
  • The traffic congestion is the result of multiple longtime factors, and requires a multi-prong solution.  Land use planning that directs most new development to targeted growth areas and provides the support for more transit options is the place to start.

In response, GrowSmart will continue to advocate for and work with willing partners to achieve:

  • The creation of village centers and transit hubs.
  • More regional coordination in transportation, housing and economic development efforts to reduce overall demand for commuting options from Portland and its suburbs.

The Gorham Connector is a proposed new toll road that would link the Maine Turnpike at Exit 45 to the Gorham Bypass off Route 114 in Gorham.

Contributed by:

Nancy Smith, Executive Director, GrowSmart Maine

Nancy E. Smith has lived and worked in Maine since 1981 and joined GrowSmart Maine as executive director in April 2010. She served four terms in the Maine State House of Representatives, representing Monmouth, Litchfield and Wales, while working on her family’s diversified livestock farm in Monmouth. Nancy worked as a forester for over twenty years for a large industrial landowner in northern Maine and for a consulting firm serving small woodlot owners in central Maine.