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March 9, 2021

Towns, cities across Maine to share $5M for stream crossing upgrades

a stream goes under a country road, the opening has a small wire fence around it, it's winter and there's snow on the ground, and the stream is partially frozen and icy, pine trees line a ridge in the background Photo / Maureen Milliken Stream crossings across the state, like this one on Jackson's Mills Road in Fayette that connects Tilton and Davis ponds, will be upgraded with $5 million worth of grants, in order to strenthen the infrastructure and also provide more fish passage and environmental benefits.

Communities across the state will share $5 million in matching grants to upgrade stream crossings on town and city roads for both safety and environmental reasons.

The money, part of an infrastructure bond package passed by voters in 2018, will be split among 36 towns and cities that received a total 42 grants to upgrade the culverts. The grant awards were the sixth round since 2015, the result of four different bond issues approved by voters, which, including this round, has resulted in $15.7 million for 172 stream crossing improvements in the state.

Many of the culverts are at risk of washout or collapse and replacing them with higher-capacity, larger and more resilient ones will improve the infrastructure and safety of the crossings, particularly reducing flooding, the state Department of Environmental Protection said in a news release.

Because the crossings are on municipal roads, it's up to the town or city to upgrade them, something that can put a dent in a municipal budget. The state grants match up to $125,000 of the cost of the upgrade. Projects chosen in the competitive grant round meet the safety and environmental requirements as well as represent a cost-effective and efficient investment, the DEP said.

The upgraded crossings will also benefit fish and wildlife by opening and reconnecting stream habitat that's been cut off by undersized culverts, or ones that are impassable. The 42 stream crossing projects funded in this round will result in new or improved fish passage to nearly 100 miles of streams statewide, the DEP said.

Next round coming up

The DEP received 47 applications totaling more than $5.5 million in requests. The next round will distribute $4 million, with a maximum of $125,000 per crossing and two projects per town. The grants are matching, but there is no minimum match.

Projects eligible for the grants must be on municipal roads and involve upgrading culverts at stream crossings to improve public safety and minimize flooding, improve habitat for fish and wildlife and represent a cost effective and efficient investment. Eligible project applicants include local governments, municipal conservation commissions, soil and water conservation districts and private nonprofit organizations.

Receiving grants are:

  • Auburn, Fish Hatchery Road, $125,000;
  • Bangor, Grandview Avenue, $68,358;
  • Biddeford, Granite Point Road, $125,000;
  • Blanchard Township, Taylor Road, $125,000;
  • Bowdoinham, Dingley Road, $125,000;
  • Cathance Township, East Ridge Road, $125,000; 
  • Corinna, Line Road, $125,000 and  Sunken Bridge Road, $125,000;
  • Dedham, Bald Mountain Road, $125,000;
  • Denmark, Moose Pond Road, $125,000;
  • Dover-Foxcroft, Grove Street, $125,000;
  • Durham, Quaker Meeting House Road; $125,000; 
  • Eddington, Clewleyville Road, $70,000, and Davis Road, $75,000;
  • Fairfield, Old County Road, $125,000;
  • Falmouth, Mast Road, $125,000;
  • Fayette, Jackman’s Mill Road, $125,000;
  • Hartland, Fuller Corner Road, $125,000;
  • Hollis, Muddy Brook Road, $125,000
  • Litchfield; Dead River Road (two crossings), $125,000 and $50,000;
  • Ludlow, Ludlow Road, $125,000;
  • Millinocket, Penobscot Avenue, $125,000;
  • Monroe, Dixmont Road, $125,000;
  • Mount Desert, Beech Hill Cross Road, $125,000;
  • Naples, Edes Falls Road, $125,000 and Horace Files Road, $110,000;
  • Norway, Morse Road, $85,000;
  • Paris, Parson Road, $125,000;
  • Peru, Packard Road, $76,180;
  • Pownal, Poland Range Road, $125,000;
  • Durham, Swamp Road, $125,000;
  • Rockland, West Meadow Road, $125,000;
  • Sabattus, Marsh Road (two crossings), $125,000 and $96,000;
  • Thomaston, Beechwood Street, $125,000;
  • Trescott Township, Wilcox Road, $125,000;
  • Wells, Bragdon Road, $125,000;
  • Willimantic, Elliotsville Road, $125,000 and Mountain Road, $125,000;
  • Wiscasset, Old Ferry Road, $125,000;
  • Woodstock, Old County Road, $125,000.

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