FALMOUTH (AP) — Motorists traveling along a 22-mile stretch of Interstate 295 between Falmouth and Topsham will need to do so at a slower pace, effective immediately.

The posted speed limit for that portion of the highway was officially lowered to 65 mph on Monday morning. The change comes on the heels of the Maine Department of Transportation concluding that speed was a factor in a 29 percent increase in crashes along that stretch since the state raised the speed limit to 70 mph in 2014.

Driver distraction and traffic volume also played a role according to MDOT’s analysis.

The agency is planning to conduct a long-term technical study of the corridor, focusing on safety improvements including traffic signals, new lighting and signage.

State police say enforcement along the stretch is not easy.

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