Scarborough receives grant for climate-ready infrastructure

The City of Scarborough is one of 75 communities to receive a Community Action Grant to fight and adapt to climate change. Last December, the Governor announced the Community Resilience Partnership, “a Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and Futures program to help Maine communities with local climate action plans become more resilient. in the face of climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”. Grants come from this program and support priority climate projects, ranging from creating community climate action plans, to protecting historic city centers from rising sea levels, to supporting investments in clean energies such as the charging of electric vehicles, etc.

Scarborough has received $46,240 for its proposed project, “Climate-Ready Infrastructure: Building a Resilient Route 1 and Pine Point Road.” The funding will be used to develop resilience strategies for US Route 1 where it crosses Scarborough Marsh and State Route 9 (Pine Point Road) near the Maine Audubon Center. US Route 1 is a major mobility corridor that extends through the heart of Scarborough. About 30,000 vehicles travel the road daily. Pine Point Road is the primary access point to Scarborough’s larger seaside community and serves as the main escape route for approximately 900 properties in the Pine Point village area of ​​Scarborough.

“Previous studies have identified these sections of road as two of the most vulnerable in Scarborough,” said Jami Fitch, Scarborough’s sustainability coordinator. Both roads are periodically flooded with seawater during astronomical high tides and/or storms, and rising sea levels will cause more frequent flooding. The marsh is also affected by sea level rise and the development of its watershed. Scarborough Marsh is the largest salt marsh in Maine and provides critical habitat for many threatened and endangered species. Any changes to US Route 1 and Pine Point Road will need to consider potential impacts to the marsh. Further study is needed to inform a road improvement strategy to make them more resilient while considering marsh health and potential impacts to private property upstream of road crossings.

At a February 2022 community meeting on climate change and resilience, 89% of attendees indicated that they were very concerned about the resilience of Scarborough’s infrastructure. As part of this two-year project, the City of Scarborough will work with the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) to develop a community-supported resilience strategy for the two major highways. MaineDOT will lead the technical and engineering components of the project, while the City of Scarborough will lead community engagement and outreach efforts. “We watch

looking forward to working closely with MaineDOT, the public and stakeholders to identify solutions to make roads more resilient to sea level rise,” said Fitch.

“My administration is proud to partner with municipalities to fight climate change and preserve the beauty and character of our communities for generations to come,” Governor Janet Mills said in her Earth Day announcement regarding the grant recipients. The multi-stakeholder process for the Scarborough Climate Smart Infrastructure Project will begin in fall 2022. There will be a thorough and inclusive outreach process to inform the resilience strategy and a diverse engagement process to reach out to the many affected groups by the scope of the project.

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