The center has been trying to find new uses for wood and other materials to make bridges and other structures.
The university will lead a coalition of six other New England universities on a project that will further that mission.
They hope to develop longer-lasting building materials that ultimately will save taxpayers money.
“I am so proud that UMaine led the coalition that won this highly competitive competition,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. “Especially, I know I shouldn't say this but I have to: We beat MIT.”
She was, of course, referring to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which has won the grant several times in a row.
Collins helped secure the multi-million dollar grant through her work on the Transportation Appropriations subcommittee.
Those on hand also got to watch as the center tested a rapidly deployable bridge system that was designed to be built in as little as 72 hours and last for 100 years.