TxDOT expands free roadside assistance program in Austin area

In an effort to improve safety and mobility, the Texas Department of Transportation is expanding the Highway Emergency Response Operator (HERO) motorist assistance program. (KXAN Photo/Julie Karam)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — More drivers stranded on Texas highways will have a chance to get a free fix for their cars now that the Texas Department of Transportation has expanded its Highway Emergency Response Operator, or HERO, program.

HERO is a free roadside assistance program. It can help drivers fix minor issues, support first responders at crash scenes, remove roadway debris and tow minor crashes away from the roadway. The trucks also got a redesign featuring a red, white and blue motif.

As of Monday, it began expanding its service area to include 138 miles of roadway in the Austin area. It originally just served Interstate 35 and US 183, but by next January will also help drivers on State Highway 71, MoPac and US 290. Portions of 183A, Loop 360, Ranch to Market Road 620, US Highway 79 and State Highway 45 will also be covered.

The program will cost about $3.6 million per year.

There are 24 trucks in the HERO program that work between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m Monday through Friday. Those who need help can call 512-974-HERO(4376).

Here are services the program provides for drivers, according to its website:

  • Changing tires
  • Giving air to low tires
  • Adding gasoline and water
  • Jump starting batteries
  • Performing minor vehicle repairs
  • Relocating disabled vehicles to safety
  • Calling towing or emergency services
  • Driving stranded motorists to a safe location
  • Providing cell phone service
  • Giving drinking water to stranded drivers
In an effort to improve safety and mobility, the Texas Department of Transportation is expanding the Highway Emergency Response Operator (HERO) motorist assistance program. (KXAN Photo/Julie Karam)
In an effort to improve safety and mobility, the Texas Department of Transportation is expanding the Highway Emergency Response Operator (HERO) motorist assistance program. (KXAN Photo/Julie Karam)

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