The Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced on Monday that it was giving its approval to use an unspent, $5 million federal earmark from 2005 to pay for repairs at State Pier in New Bedford.

Mayor Jon Mitchell told WBSM News that the repairs were desperately needed and will help avert a potential collapse.

"The benefit to the city is that the pier isn't going to fall into the ocean," said Mitchell "it desperately needs repairs to continue functioning for its intended purposes. It's main purpose is as a ferry terminal and as a cargo terminal and in the the future for other uses."

Mayor Mitchell also hopes that this will lead to further investments in the city's waterfront.

"I am firmly conviced that the port can be even more successful in the years ahead, that's why we've worked so hard to protect the fishing industry and promote offshore wind and recreational boating and the development of cargo activity on our waterfront," said Mitchell "with investment will come jobs."

Mayor Mitchell also says he will continue to seek state and federal dollars for other projects.

"The harbor has not been dredged in 50 years, that needs to happen, I'd like to see the development of the North Terminal, that could become the key facility for a number of industries, fishing, offshore wind and others, and the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge needs to be replaced," said Mitchell.

Mitchell says he expects work on State Pier to begin in a few months.