NEW BEDFORD - Tired of swerving to avoid potholes on New Bedford streets? Mayor Jon Mitchell says the City is beginning a program to invest $1 million a year for five years to be used for the complete reconstruction of New Bedford's most damaged streets.

Mayor Mitchell says city workers will focus on heavily utilized roads like County Street first. "Those are going to be the priority in the years ahead. Because we do need to get caught up so that we can have the roadways that our residents expect," said Mitchell.

The City's investment is on top of about $2 million dollars in Chapter 90 funds contributed by the State every year.

In addition to the added investment, the City will hold utility companies to a higher standard when they patch up roads after they've completed work. Mayor Mitchell says most potholes can be blamed on shoddy work by utilities after they've accessed underground infrastructure. "If it's not fixed appropriately, if it's not sealed right, if it's not level it will crack under the weight of cars. Water will get in. Water will freeze and expand. That's how potholes form."

And the City is throwing in an added safeguard on top of that precedent. DPI Commissioner Zeb Arruda says aside from regular traffic, the streets will be untouched once they're repaired. "Once the road is finalized, we will not allow anyone to dig back into that road for five years," proclaimed Arruda. "If there is an emergency, we all understand emergencies are emergencies. But short of an emergency, the road will remain intact for five years." That will be accomplished by assuring all work that is necessary on or under the streets by the City or utility companies is completed before the repairs are finalized.