City considering mandating companies pay for repairs after completing work

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HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) – The city of Hazleton is considering a new ordinance that would keep the ride a smooth one for drivers in the city. It would require utility companies that dig up recently paved roads to fix those roads.

Most of us have seen streets that are paved and it looks good and the ride is smooth. Then, out of nowhere, a utility comes in and digs it up. City officials say that has got to stop.

“Well, we’re trying to protect our investment,” said Hazleton Mayor Jeff Cusat. He wants to make sure the streets are in the best possible condition.

“People of Hazleton had to suffer long enough with potholes and road cuts, so I’m tired of utilities coming in and checker-boarding throughout the city,” said Cusat.

On West Maple Street in downtown Hazleton, an example of that, where the utility company did their work and then patched the street, but soon that will end.

“So from now on, if somebody cuts one of those roads that we’ve repaved, we would like curb to curb repair and 75 foot in each direction that way citizens will have a smooth transition into and out of the repair zone,” said Cusat.

Council Vice-President Tony Colombo said it’s all about saving taxpayers money.

“What we did was apply for some grant money to do lots of road repairs in the city. What we want to do is we are reaching out to the utility companies like the gas, water and electric to check the roads we are going to pave to do any type of work, maintenance on the gas lines, water lines before we pave,” said Colombo.

Mayor Cusat says some utilities have stepped up in the past.

“Last year, we teamed up with UGI which has been incredible with us to turn some money over to us. We fixed the road and do complete paves,” said Cusat.

The ordinance also calls for hefty fines if utilities fail to repair the streets or pay for the new paving.

Council is expected to give final approval to the measure later this month.

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