October 4, 2023
OAK BLUFFS, MA – The town of Oaks Bluffs was awarded a nearly $170,000 grant Monday in an effort to make transportation access to the hospital more resilient during flooding events associated with sea level rise and storm surge.
The funds, which will come from the state’s Coastal Resilience Grant Program, will be used to conduct a flooding and sea level rise vulnerability analysis of key transportation routes to the hospital. The project will include a detailed vulnerability assessment, public education, and a planning level conceptual retrofit design that embeds nature-based solutions and shoreline restoration to address threatened transportation access.
“I applaud our town leaders for their efforts in both securing this grant, and being proactive to address our potential vulnerabilities as a coastal community,” said hospital president and chief operating officer Denise Schepici. “Obstructions to the surrounding roadways have historically resulted in delays in care, so I’m grateful this issue is being examined. A critical component of the health of island residents and our visitors, especially during flooding or a storm, is the ability to get to the hospital for treatment.”
Mass General Brigham has also launched significant efforts across the system to plan for resilience against climate change. The multi-phased approach is examining climate scenarios (such as storm surge, rising temperatures, and wind) and vulnerabilities (like transportation, public utilities, and facilities), as it considers implementation of risk mitigation protocols and capital investments. The system also supports the GREEN Hospitals Act, which would empower hospitals to implement vital adaptations that enhance their capacity to withstand extreme weather occurrences and pandemics, while simultaneously reducing their reliance on non-renewable energy sources
Meantime, through the Coastal Resilience Grant Program, the Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) is supporting nineteen projects that address the impacts of climate change.
“In the past year, we’ve seen extreme storms bring catastrophic damage across the state. We need urgent action to address these escalating impacts of climate change,” said Governor Maura Healey. “Building resilience along our coastal communities is a matter of public health, safety, and a strong economy. This grant program demonstrates our administration’s commitment to working with our local partners to expand and improve climate change solutions.”
The transportation network that will be addressed is also the only access and egress for the Oak Bluffs Fire Department, the Oak Bluffs Shelter, and state and local police headquarters.