Highway Emergency Response Operator Program Gets New Look, Expands Service
AUSTIN, TX For the first time since its inception, the Highway Emergency Response Operator, or HERO, patrol service program will be able to clear minor crashes from area roadways, in addition to helping stranded motorists, the Texas Department of Transportation announced during a news conference. The free roadside service is also being expanded to cover 138 miles along I-35, US 183, US 290, SH 71 and MoPac.
The current fleet is being increased from six to 24 trucks, to be put into service in three phases. The newly designed HERO trucks have begun patrolling I-35 in Hays County and US 183 in Del Valle. On Dec. 4, 2017, additional trucks will begin patrolling I-35 from Georgetown to Kyle, and US 183 from Lakeline Mall Drive to US 290. On Jan. 1, 2018, the updated fleet will begin patrols on SH 71 and MoPac.
Established in 2010, the HERO program, in partnership with the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, began patrols along 34 miles of I-35, and has proven successful in providing assistance to stranded motorists and minimizing traffic delays throughout the Capital region. In 2015, the HERO program assisted more than 14,000 motorists.
The new HERO trucks will be equipped with not only fuel and water for stranded motorists, but they will also have a digital message sign and camera that can send live images back to the Combined Transportation Emergency and Communications Center (CTECC), to help with incident management.
The program is expected to cost $3.6 million per year. The price of the program will be shared between TxDOT and CAMPO. Serco, Inc. will manage and operate the HERO program. Motorists can call 512-974-HERO (4376) between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, if they need assistance.