Heavy Rain and Flooding Has Deadly Results in Maine

Rain and rising water caused significant damage across the state and is blamed for a crash that killed a man Tuesday

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Repairs are still being made to roads damaged by flooding after a week of heavy rain that appears to have killed at least one person in Maine.

According to Skowhegan Police, a 53-year-old man died there on Tuesday after his car crashed while hydroplaning in standing water.

The death comes in addition to road and railroad repairs that are expected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In Durham, there is a miles-long detour to divert drivers from a road where the Maine Department of Transportation is repairing a culvert that failed.

"From the best we can tell, what happened was we had a lot of rainfall that increased the water levels and also softened some sandy soil on the embankment, sandier than what we normally have on an embankment like that. We also think there was part of a beaver dam that was built inside the culvert, " said Paul Merrill, the director of communications for MaineDOT.

"We don’t know the exact cost until everything is said and done, but it’s fair to estimate that this is going to be between a $300,000 and $500,000 fix," he explained.

That washout comes in addition to one that caused a train to derail in Orneville on Wednesday morning.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, Canadian Pacific, the company that was operating the train, told the agency that the derailment was preceded by "heavy rainfall and flooding in the area in the days leading up to it."

On Friday, Canadian Pacific told NECN/NBC 10 Boston that it had repaired the track on Thursday afternoon and completed related safety inspections.

Also within the span of this same week, another road washout occurred in Glenburn, and a family in Brewer had to be rescued from their home in a fire department boat after part of it flooded in rising water.

Back in Durham, Merrill said the culvert that failed would be replaced by one that is more than twice as large as MaineDOT factors in ways to prepare for climate-related problems with infrastructure like stronger rain storms.

Scientists have said that climate change could cause more rain storms that bring more water and, in turn, cause more damage.

"We’re factoring in increasing culvert sizes and making bridges higher just to increase the resilience of the infrastructure," said Merrill, noting that "rising sea levels along the coast" are also something MaineDOT is preparing for.

"It’s been part of the calculus for several years because we know things are changing and we want the infrastructure to be able to last," he added.

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