Section 1. Highways and town ways, including railroad crossings at grade with such highways and town ways, shall be kept in repair at the expense of the town in which they are situated, so that they may be reasonably safe and convenient for travelers, with their horses, teams, vehicles and carriages at all seasons. A city or town shall submit a letter of request for such repair and for approval by the state department of highways. Upon receipt of such approval, the city or town shall be reimbursed by the commonwealth from monies which may be appropriated therefor by the commonwealth and the federal government to defray expenses of such repairs for safety programming. Such reimbursement will not create liability, of any kind, either civil or criminal on the part of the commonwealth or the federal government.