YORK (AP) – Maine Turnpike officials have narrowed to four the number of sites under consideration for a new toll plaza at the southern end of the highway.

The Maine Turnpike Authority is planning to replace the York toll plaza, which was erected in 1969 and serves as the gateway to Maine for thousands of vehicles each day. Construction will begin by the summer of 2009, with a new plaza being operational by the summer of 2011.

Turnpike officials say 16 possible sites were initially identified after the site selection process began more than a year ago.

That number has now been narrowed down to four sites – all located within a seven-mile stretch of highway north of the existing plaza. The No. 1 choice is expected to be announced in the next three months.

AP-ES-02-20-08 0818EST

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