"If you do that fairly regularly, it's a cheaper way to maintain the streets," Mendoza said.
Residents of three Uptown neighborhoods recently began to feel the effects of Mendoza's preferred method as construction crews worked block by block in small sections of town, patching minor damage and pouring new asphalt.
While the project in the St. Mary area included short portions of just two streets, scores of blocks covering a total of 1Â¤3/4 miles in the Irish Channel and West Riverside neighborhoods got a facelift.
Mendoza said the city consulted with Entergy New Orleans and the Sewerage & Water Board to make sure that streets slated for smoothing weren't scheduled to be dug up during the next several years for routine maintenance of utility or drainage lines.
The chosen streets were good candidates for the city's first stab at neighborhood-wide street rehabilitation because they didn't flood in Hurricane Katrina, meaning damage to subsurface utilities was not as great as in swamped areas.
Together, the street projects cost about $2.5 million, financed by bonds sold in 2005, city records show. The city hired MWH Inc. as the consulting engineer and Boh Brothers Construction Co. as the contractor for all three jobs.
While Mendoza hailed the projects as a success, it's unlikely the systematic restoration process will be replicated in other neighborhoods anytime soon.
Street repairs are on hold in most areas that flooded because the S&WB and Entergy haven't finished their repairs, he said.
"We can't do these everywhere because there are some places where the Sewerage & Water Board has major repairs that need to be done, or where Entergy still needs to convert the gas lines," Mendoza said."