A popular Georgia Department of Transportation program to help clear accidents and help motorists stranded on metro Atlanta interstates will soon be expanded statewide.
GDOT has issued a request for potential bidders for a new roadside assistance and maintenance program. Though known in metro Atlanta as the HERO (Highway Emergency Response Operators) program, that is not likely to be the name for the new statewide service, said GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale.
HERO drivers act as guardian angels for motorists with vehicle maintenance issues such as flat tires or empty gas tanks. Their brightly painted yellow vehicles and portable signage help alert other drivers to the presence of a disabled vehicle. HERO drivers also can remove debris in the road; tag or remove abandoned vehicles; report damaged signs, rails or posts; and help police respond to crash scenes to get them cleared quickly.
Motorists can call 511 to request assistance from a HERO driver.
The expansion of the state's roadside assistance program will be paid for with an influx of new revenue received following the General Assembly's passage last year of House Bill 170, a sweeping transportation funding bill, according to GDOT.
READ MORE: New money for Georgia roads pouring in
The cost for providing the expanded service is still to be determined, said Dale. The existing HERO program, which operates only in metro Atlanta, costs about $10 million a year to cover 382 miles of freeways. About $8 million of that comes from the federal government and the remainder comes from corporate sponsorship by State Farm.
Potential vendors must respond by April 28. The winning contractor will provide the staffing and vehicles and manage their deployment.