ME 196 begins at a junction with U.S. Route 1, which is an alignment change from U.S. 201. The alignment is called the Brunswick-Topsham bypass and the first leg of the route is a limited access two lane undivided highway. Signs on I-295 refer to this portion as the Coastal Connector to avoid using the term bypass, as it was feared doing so would drive too much traffic from Downtown Brunswick businesses. It eventually reverts to a surface street (and major arterial) through Topsham but does provide a more direct route for travelers on U.S. 1 to access I-295 without having to go through Brunswick. It then intersects with U.S. 201 in Topsham (Main St.) and finally crosses I-295 where it has an interchange. It continues north and passes through Lisbon Falls, Lisbon, and then passes under the Maine Turnpike (I-95) and then enters the city of Lewiston. It is known as Lisbon St. in Lewiston and for its last segment before it ends is a divided 4 lane city street with westbound traffic on Lisbon St. and eastbound traffic on Canal St. It ends at Main St. which is multiplexed at this point as U.S. 202, ME 11, and ME 100 in downtown Lewiston.