Kennebunkport Upgrades Causeway Using Infrastructure Funding Awarded Through Governor Mills Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan

The $2.585 million investment through the Maine Infrastructure Adaptation Fund raises a road to make it resilient to flooding and to preserve access to Cape Porpoise Harbor for commercial fishermen

Kennebunkport, MAINE – Governor Janet Mills today participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony marking the completion of a major causeway upgrade funded by the Governor’s Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan.

For years, the Pier Road causeway connecting the Cape Porpoise mainland with Bickford Island in Kennebunkport has experienced extensive flooding during king tide and storm surges, a serious problem that jeopardized public access to Kennebunkport’s only commercial pier, which was relied on by more than 50 commercial fishing vessels. The problem was only expected to grow worse in the coming years as climate change causes more frequent and powerful storms.

Using a $2.585 million grant awarded through the Maine Infrastructure Adaptation Fund, which is in part funded by the Governor’s Jobs Plan, the Town of Kennebunkport has successfully raised the causeway by four feet, safeguarding stormwater and utility infrastructure, and maintaining access for residents, fishermen, and emergency vehicles during all storm events.

Governor Mills with cutting a ribbon for the new causeway improvements in Kennebunkport

Today, the Governor joined town officials to cut the ribbon and officially open the new, more resilient causeway. The Governor has made it a priority to make infrastructure across Maine more resilient to the impacts of climate change, particularly following last winter’s devastating storms, after which she invested another $25 million into the Maine Infrastructure Adaptation Fund.

“Every day, people across Maine are seeing and feeling the devastating impacts of climate change – just ask the residents who live on Bickford Island or the commercial fishermen who relied on this causeway to get to their docks. But we are taking action. This upgrade, funded by my Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, makes this causeway more resilient to the flooding, protecting residents and preserving access to one of Maine’s most iconic working waterfronts for generations to come,” said Governor Janet Mills. “We have a lot more work to do across the state, but today is a great example of how the State can partner with municipalities to make our infrastructure more resilient to climate change and to protect the safety of Maine people and the health of our economy in the process.”

“Our dedicated team members are pleased to play a role in helping local communities strengthen critical infrastructure that supports economic opportunity and quality of life,” said Bruce Van Note, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Transportation. “We thank Governor Mills for prioritizing investments in projects that increase resilience, support public safety, and protect our natural resources.”

“Pier Road is an integral part of Kennebunkport’s economic engine as it is the only access to our commercial pier providing support for 50 commercial fishing vessels and adding approximately $10 million annually to the local economy. The raising of Pier Road was not only needed for the safety of residents and businesses today, but also for the future of our town and the continued success of the regional fishing community,” said Allen Daggett, Chair of the Kennebunkport Selectboard.

Governor Mills launched the Maine Infrastructure Adaptation Fund in 2021 to help Maine cities and towns rebuild infrastructure that is resilient and that provides community, economic, and environmental benefits.

As part of the storm relief package secured by the Governor and approved by the Legislature this spring, Maine has made available an additional $25 million to Maine municipalities through the fund. The fund is administered by the Maine Department of Transportation.

Additionally, the Governor signed an Executive Order last month establishing the Infrastructure Rebuilding and Resilience Commission, which is charged with reviewing and evaluating Maine’s response to the recent storms, identifying crucial areas for near-term investment and policy needs, and developing the state’s first long-term infrastructure plan to ensure that Maine is ready for harsh storms ahead. The Commission has recently held meetings in Stonington, Old Orchard Beach, and Rumford.

The Pier Road Resiliency Project is the first project of several planned by Kennebunkport to increase resiliency. Other projects include the reconstruction of Cape Porpoise Pier, improvements along Ocean Avenue at Wandby Beach, and addressing the impacts of flooding along the Kennebunk River.