East–West Highway (New England)

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The East–West Highway is a long-proposed east–west highway corridor in northern New England (Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont), intended to link remote northern communities in those states with markets in the Maritimes, Quebec, and upstate New York.


Low population and natural barriers like the White Mountains have long impeded significant economic development in northern New England.

Interstate 92
Location: Albany, NY –
Portsmouth, NH or
Glens Falls, NY – Calais, ME

Proposals for an east–west highway date back to the 1940s.[citation needed] In the early 1970s, all three northern New England states and New York proposed two new Interstate Highway corridors, both of which may have been designated as Interstate 92:

The Federal Highway Administration ultimately did not approve the plan.

Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine said in 2004 that the region is disadvantaged by the fact that it was the only region in the United States for which a federal High Priority Corridor was not designated in the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act.[1]

In 2012, the east–west highway was again proposed, this time as a privately financed toll road.[2]


Current backers of the highway propose an east–west axis through northern and central Maine — these could cover up to three existing surface ports of entry on the U.S.-Canada border, two from Québec; and one from New Brunswick. One portion of the new highway would run from Interstate 395 in Brewer, Maine, to the Canada–United States border near Calais, with a direct link to New Brunswick Route 1—a major transportation corridor serving the Maritimes. A second would travel northwest from Interstate 95 near Waterville, Maine, to the Canada–United States border at Coburn Gore, with a connection to a proposed extension of the Canton de l'Est extension of Quebec's Autoroute 10 eastwards from Montreal. A third would travel due west from Interstate 95 near Waterville, following the U.S. Route 2 corridor through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and upper New York state. Another possibility for such a link between Maine and Quebec exists with Autoroute 73, whose Chaudière-Appalaches proposed southeast extension within Quebec could link through the existing Armstrong–Jackman Border Crossing, despite no link to the American Interstate Highway System existing or planned to exist to it.

Northern New England is served by three north–south freeways radiating generally northwards from Boston, Massachusetts — from east to west, I-95, Interstate 93 and U.S. Route 3 all coming from or through the Boston metro area, and westernmost of all, by Interstate 91, which follows the Connecticut River. However, the northernmost complete east–west freeway existing within the region, Interstate 90 in Massachusetts, does not enter northern New England. East–west travel through (and within) northern New England is facilitated by three freeway segments:

The presence of Massachusetts Route 2 as a signed east-west Massachusetts state roadway between Interstate 90 and the Massachusetts-Northern New England border is not as significant, as MA Route 2 does not exist as a freeway through much of its length.


A number of groups in Maine oppose the creation of the East-West Highway / Corridor, citing environmental concerns such as the impact on wetlands and the risks of oil spills from pipelines along the corridor, as well as the increased impact of sprawl-type development.[3] The issue has led to repeated protests[4][5] and was one of the few areas of agreement between the candidates for governor of Maine in 2014.[6]

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