WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, announced today that she secured a total of $15,050,000 in the government funding bill to improve infrastructure in Searsport.

The omnibus funding package passed the House and the Senate and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

The funding includes $9,200,000 to reconstruct a section of U.S. Route 1 in Searsport and $5,850,000 for the maintenance dredging of Searsport Harbor, according to the March 11 announcement.  Last July, Collins and Maine DOT Commissioner Bruce Van Note visited Searsport to review these high-priority projects.

“These two important transportation projects will provide significant benefits to local residents, visitors and businesses,” Collins said. “The reconstruction of Route 1 will make major improvements to the roadway to ensure safe, efficient travel, while the maintenance dredging of the Port of Searsport will help prevent shipping delays at Mack Point. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I strongly advocated on behalf of Maine DOT and Searsport to include these critical projects in the funding bill.”

U.S. Route 1 through Searsport is one of the last remaining sections that are considered “unbuilt” in Midcoast Maine. This project will reconstruct this section of Route 1 to address deficiencies with safety, mobility, pavement structure, drainage, pedestrian access, ADA compliance, bicycle access and parking.

Searsport Harbor is one of Maine’s three major deepwater seaports. The navigation channel was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1964 with a design depth of 35 feet. Over the last several years, however, sediments have deposited in the channel. A maintenance dredging has been postponed for more than 12 years. Ensuring there is sufficient clearance for ships unloading liquid and dry cargoes at Mack Point’s two piers is essential to the safety and the efficiency of the port.

The Army Corps of Engineers’ initial request for the dredging was $4,200,000. Collins included an additional $1,650,000 in the appropriations bill through a Congressionally Directed Spending request, which was necessary to meet the revised work plan, dredge approximately 22,000 cubic yards of material, and maintain the navigation channel. The deposited material will be used to construct a laydown pad for long-term cargo storage, according to the announcement.