After a turbulent winter that took a heavy toll on the region’s roads, the state Department of Transportation is launching a pothole fund, hoping to make summer driving a bit smoother.
Beginning Wednesday, cities and towns will be able to apply for road rehabilitation funds from the $40 million Pothole and Winter Recovery Program, said Richard A. Davey, secretary of MassDOT.
“Obviously, we’ve had a really tough winter, particularly on our roads,” he said. “The condition of the roads is even worse than [after] a normal winter.”
Throughout the winter and early days of spring, the state received a deluge of complaints about potholes, Davey said, prompting the creation of the fund.
The money — $30 million of which will be allocated to cities and towns while the other $10 million covers state roads — will also pay for repaving work and repairs to broken signs and guardrails.
To expedite those repairs, MassDOT has imposed strict deadlines, Davey said. Cities and towns that apply for funding must allocate the money by June 30, and construction on the projects must be complete by September. If a municipality fails to meet those deadlines, it loses its money.
“We want to get the DOT and cities and towns motivated to [get] the improvements out the door,” he said.
The state will determine funding levels for cities and towns based on their populations and miles of roadways, among other factors that go into the state’s annual road and highway budget.
Given the relatively small scope of many of the repairs, commuters should not be overly burdened, Davey said.
“Even if there are some traffic impacts, I think the public will tolerate that,” he said.