AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Department of Transportation will extend their free roadside service to weekends for the Austin area.
The program, called Highway Emergency Response Operator or HERO, will include patrols from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
The expansion, announced in a release Tuesday, includes adding an extra two trucks to their fleet, taking it from 24 to 26, plus two trailers — one to remove debris from roadways and the other for lane closures that are expected to last longer than two hours.
HERO trucks are equipped with fuel, water, oil and air to help stranded drivers, and with tools to change tires and give jumpstarts. They also have signs to help with incident management.
The fleet patrols 138 miles of Interstate 35, US 183, US 290, State Highway 71 and MoPac Expressway. The service has responded to 22,000 requests since October of 2017.
The department announced the service’s extension following a $2.1 million approval from the Texas Transportation Commission.
Drivers can call 512-974-HERO (4376) between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, if they need assistance.
The department will share the $4.3 million annual cost of the program with the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Officials say they expect the program to start on Saturdays and Sundays in the coming weeks.