Scarborough Receives Climate-Ready Infrastructure Grant
The Town 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 program of the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future to help Maine communities with local climate action plans to become more resilient against climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” The grants come from this program and support climate priority projects ranging from creating community climate action plans, protecting historic downtowns from rising sea levels, supporting clean energy investments like electric vehicle charging, and more.
Scarborough 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 resiliency 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 stretches through the heart of Scarborough. Approximately 30,000 vehicles travel the road on a daily basis. Pine Point Road is the primary access point to Scarborough’s largest beach community and serves as the primary evacuation route for approximately 900 properties in Scarborough’s Pine Point village area.
“Past studies identified these sections of roads as two of the most vulnerable in Scarborough,” said Jami Fitch, Scarborough Sustainability Coordinator. Both roads periodically flood with seawater during astronomical high tides and/or storm events, and sea level rise will cause the roads to flood more often. The Marsh is also impacted by sea level rise and development within its watershed. Scarborough Marsh is Maine’s largest salt marsh and provides essential habitat for many threatened and endangered species. Any alteration to the US Route 1 and Pine Point Road will need to consider potential impacts to the Marsh. A comprehensive study is needed to inform a strategy for upgrading the roads to make them more resilient while considering the health of the Marsh and potential impacts to private properties upstream of the road crossings.
In a February 2022 community meeting on climate change and resiliency, 89% of participants indicated they are very concerned about the resiliency of Scarborough’s infrastructure. Through this two-year project, the Town of Scarborough will collaborate with the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) to develop a community-supported resiliency strategy for the two major roadways. MaineDOT will lead the technical and engineering components of the project, while the Town of Scarborough will lead community engagement and outreach efforts. “We look
forward to working closely with MaineDOT, the public, and stakeholders to identify solutions to make the roads more resilient to sea level rise,” Fitch said.
“My Administration is proud to partner with municipalities to fight climate change and to preserve the beauty and character of our communities for generations to come,” said Governor Janet Mills in her Earth Day announcement of grant recipients. The multi-stakeholder process for Scarborough’s climate-ready infrastructure project will begin in the Fall of 2022. There will be an extensive and inclusive outreach process to inform the resilience strategy and a diverse engagement process to reach the many groups affected by the project scope.