The Maine DOT has announced the speed limit on a section of I-295 will be reduced from 70mph to 65mph beginning March 27, part of an effort to reduce the growing number of accidents on the road.

On Wednesday, the department issued a press saying the speed limit will be reduced from Falmouth to Topsham.

In 2014, the speed limit on much of I-295 was increased from 65mph to 70mph. According to the release, there was a 29 percent increase in the number of accidents on the road from June 2013 to May 2016. During that same time period, traffic volumes increased by 6.4 percent.

“It’s important to note, that while an increase in traffic volume on I-295 has led to more crashes, speed and driver distraction are also major factors,” Maine DOT Chief Engineer Joyce Taylor said in the release. “By lowering the speed limit, we hope to allow drivers more reaction time to any event that may occur on the highway.”

The Maine DOT says a number of safety improvements are included in the department’s 2017-2019 work plan.

The plan includes the installation of a traffic signal and turn lanes at the I-295/Bucknam Road intersection in Falmouth, the assessment of new southbound access at Exit 4 in South Portland, lighting replacement at northbound Exit 22 in Freeport and a traffic signal at the intersection of Route 1 and the Exit 17 northbound off-ramp in Yarmouth.

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