The Town of Oak Bluffs will use almost $170,000 in grant funding awarded by the office of Coastal Zone Management to develop a highly technical vulnerability assessment as a first step toward addressing flooding near Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.
The roadways near the hospital and the Lagoon Pond drawbridge are regularly inundated with storm surge, impeding access to the hospital and potentially endangering members of the public and emergency responders.
According to Oak Bluffs officials, the town ultimately aims to make low-lying roads near the hospital more resilient to flooding associated with sea level rise and storm surge. The vulnerability assessment will inform what the next steps should be as planners proceed toward engineering and construction.
An overview of the project states that “this funding opportunity allows the Town to retain professional engineering services to conduct the detailed assessment, which will include public education, [and] retrofit design that embeds nature-based solutions and shoreline restoration.” Engineers will conduct an analysis of current and projected flooding risk along vital transportation routes. Their report will suggest potential alternative routes for emergency services, assess the feasibility of road raising and reconstruction, and determine the potential for using nature-based solutions to mitigate flooding.
The initiative has received broad support from Island stakeholders, including the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, Martha’s Vineyard Commission, Oak Bluffs Fire-EMS, Dukes County Commissioners, and Oak Bluffs Select and Planning Boards.