Maine Highway Classification

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This page describes Maine-specific determinations for implementing US Highway Classification values.

Maine uses the same standard as defined on the US Highway Classification page. The top tier of classification is the motorway+trunk network.

The General-Purpose Road Network


highway=motorway should only be applied to roadways that are either signed Interstate highways or have ALL of the following characteristics:

  • Grade separation
  • Limited access via on/off ramps
  • No at-grade intersections or traffic signals (although on-ramps may have traffic control devices)
  • Divided carriageways
  • Designed and maintained to support high speeds over long distances

In particular, roads which briefly exhibit motorway-like characteristics for short distances should not be tagged as a motorway. For these roads consider using expressway=yes combined with a classification that indicates the road's connectivity importance in the region or local area.


Trunks are the most important non-motorway highways in an area. Non-motorway routes connecting major settlements are considered trunk roads (also known as "major inter-city roads"). These roads are signed US or state highways.

Important Regional Centers


The following communities in and around Maine are to be concidered the most important regional centers:

Inside Maine
City Notes
Portland Includes surrounding Metropolitan area (South Portland, Westbrook, Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth, etc)
Bangor Includes surrounding Metropolitan area (Brewer, Orono, Old Town, etc)
Lewiston/Auburn Includes surrounding Metropolitan area
Augusta Includes surrounding Metropolitan area
Brunswick Includes Topsham
Presque Isle
Windham Prominent enough to be stand-alone from the Portland metro area as a destination?
Old Orchard Beach
Outside Maine
City Notes
Potsmouth, NH (and Boston, MA beyond)
Saint John, NB
Rochester, NH
Concord, NH
Burlington, VT
Montreal, QC
Sherbrooke, QC
Quebec City, QC
Fredricton, NB
Edmunston, NB

Trunk Roads

The following US and state routes are principal roads between important population centers not serviced by interstates.

Route Population Centers Served Notes
US 2 (West of I-95 @ Newport) Bangor & Skowhegan to points west (Burlington, VT; Montreal, QC)
ME 9 Bangor & I-95 corridor to Saint John, NB
US 1 (from 295-Ellsworth) Brunswick; Bath; Rockland; Belfast; Ellsworth
US 1A Belfast; Bangor
ME 3 Augusta; Belfast; Ellsworth; Bar Harbor
US 201 (north of I 95) Waterville, Skowhegan; Quebec City, QC
US 202/ME 11 Rochester, NH; Sanford
ME 111 Sanford; Biddeford
US 302 Portland; Montreal, QC
US 1 (north of I 95) Bangor; Presque Isle; Caribou; Edmunston

Additional confirmation data:

  • The NHS desigation of routes does not necessarily require trunk status, but can be a useful comparison.


Primary routes are routes connecting smaller communities, or linking other primary, trunk, or motorway roads to other roads or places. Use this tag on State or US routes connecting multiple settlements or other important roads, but not important enough to receive trunk classification. This tag can also be used on very important city roads.


Secondary routes are often minor state routes that link to many even small settlements.


Tertiary routes are town or city roads. A town road that serves as any sort of through route should be considered a tertiary road regardless of paved status.


Use the Unclassified tag for any very small linking road, or for any non-service road that does not serve a contained neighborhood.


Use the Residential road tag for roads that are not through routes, such as roads in subdivisions, or dead-end rural roads that serve houses.


Tracks are roads that are mainly used for forestry and agriculture. Track roads are not maintained by the city or state for traffic to travel on.

Specific Guidance for Roads in Timber Harvesting Areas

Maine contains large tracks of land used used primarily for timber harvesting, but as well for recreation. These areas, including the North Maine Woods are often privately owned, and served by a variety of unpaved roads of varying levels of maintenance. These range from temporary logging tracks, to roads that are maintained for year round use and and may be used by the public to link remote communities. Specific guidance is therefore recommended.

Tertiary: Year Roads and/or Roads Serving Critical Transportation Links

Named roads which are regularly maintained for year use and/or serve as critical transportation links for logging, remote communities, or border crossings should be classified as highway=tertiary. These roads are maintained on a regular basis to be sufficient for use by logging traffic and non-specialized off-road vehicle traffic. A prototypical example of is the Golden Road. This road is a critical link for logging traffic, is a main point of entry to the North Maine Woods, and serves a border crossing between the US and Canada.

Unclassified: Regularly Maintained Roads of Less Significance

Roads which are regularly maintained for to be sufficient for use by logging traffic and non-specialized off-road traffic but are of less significance for critical transportation links should be tagged as highway=unclassified. These roads have regular maintenance (e.g. from a road grader) over a multi-year period, and may or may not be maintained through the winter.

Tracks: Less Maintained Roads

Roads which are not maintained, are rarely maintained, and or are not of sufficient quality to be used by non-specialized off-road vehicles should be tagged as highway=track. These may or may not be dead end roads, but in either case they do not serve as regular transportation links. These tracks can include: transient roads created for logging, previous highway=unclassified roads which are no longer regularly maintained, roads serving a small recreational area such as a boat ramp, one or more camps, or campground.


This page is discussed on the #local-maine Channel of the OSMUS Slack.