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Maine Turnpike Memorial Day Traffic Was A Trickle Compared To Previous Years

Robert F. Bukaty
AP File
In this Feb. 2011 file photo, traffic approaches Maine Turnpike toll booths in Gardiner

Traffic on the Maine Turnpike over the holiday weekend was a far cry from the usual Memorial Day onslaught that kicks off the state summer tourist season.

"You can't blame the weather, because we had glorious weather this past weekend," says Peter Mills, executive director of the Maine Turnpike Authority.

Mills says that during last year's Memorial Day weekend, drivers went through the tolls more than one million times. This past holiday weekend, the number was just over a half million.

The drop in traffic was most severe at the state's gateway toll plaza in York, which Mills says indicates that tourists from southern New England, in particular, weren't on the move.

"We just didn't get that many, because the York toll was down by over half compared to what it was last year on Memorial Day," Mills says.

Mills adds, though, that the turnpike's revenues did not drop by as much this weekend. He says that is because of robust truck traffic, which pays more in tolls per trip.