A small portion of the federal COVID-19 relief money coming to Haverhill will be used to improve streets and sidewalks.
Mayor James J. Fiorentini said Tuesday he has ordered $500,000 of what will be up to $37.4 million in federal American Rescue Plan money be used immediately for repairs and upgrades.
“The heart of Haverhill is in its neighborhoods,” Fiorentini said. “The most complaints I receive are about our neighborhoods, our streets and our sidewalks. This infusion of half a million dollars will supplement our existing budget and help us repair more sidewalks and pave more streets than we normally are able to do.”
Haverhill typically receives about $1.5 million each year from the state to maintain, repair and improve local roads and bridges.
Two years ago, the mayor said, the city matched the state road paving amount and was able to pave more roads than in any previous year in history. The mayor had planned to make a similar local match last year but was unable to do so because of losses and spending constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new federal money allows the city to replenish lost revenue and use the funds for items that had to be cut because of the pandemic.
Haverhill is one of the largest land areas in the state with more than 424 curb miles and 1,400 public streets within its 34 square miles.
The city uses a professional outside company to inspect, analyze and grade every public road and then create a ranking of recommended paving projects. The review considers age, condition, how heavily used a given street is and other factors. Input from residents is also considered and the public is encouraged to call the city’s 311 constituent services telephone line with requests.