TxDOT to expands free towing service

Tow trucks are on standby during peak hours in the morning and evening, from 6-9 a.m. and 5-7 p.m.,

TxDOT has been towing stalled cars out of two major construction zones for a couple of months now, thanks to funding from the El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The free service started in October and will stop temporarily Friday, Jan.12.

Tow trucks are on standby during peak hours in the morning and evening, from 6-9 a.m. and 5-7 p.m., and help remove stalled or abandoned vehicles along the Go 10 construction zone on I-10 from Thorn Avenue through central El Paso at Cotton Street, as well as the Border West Expressway project from downtown to Doniphan Drive.

“Typically, the top causes are people run out of gas or they get a flat tire, so the object is to take them to the next safest place where they can find help. When we see a vehicle stopped we alert the tow truck drivers and they can get right there, and often it's within 10 minutes,” said TxDOT spokeswoman Jennifer Wright.

So far over 300 vehicles have been towed, and this service has been especially helpful in the Go 10 construction zone, where a majority of the interstate does not have emergency shoulders and most of the vehicles have been towed out of traffic near Sunland Park Drive.

Some drivers KFOX14 spoke to agree it provides relief and hope to see the program continue.

“I would really appreciate that if I had the option to use it, “said Andree Guerrero, who lives in West El Paso.

“If I have a problem, you know, and I can get towed free and get out of everybody's way that's obviously a good thing,” said Lee Oliver, who is actually driving through town from Indiana to Arizona. He added he’s driven through El Paso many times when he was a truck driver and noticed the new construction but feels traffic isn’t as bad here as it is in other states.

TxDOT resumed this service Jan. 17 . It will be extended for up to six months or $100,000 worth of towing, including any money left over from the original contract.

“We've not only extended the contract but we've extended the limits because we started out with the braided ramp projects in front of the malls. It's going from Viscount to Thorn now,” said Wright.

It will also cover North Mesa Drive between downtown and Doniphan Drive.

TxDOT said plans to bring back its Heroes program, a longer term, citywide towing program is in the works and is expected to be in place by the end of the year.

TxDOT would also like to offer tips and reminders for drivers and urge them to maintain service on vehicles, check tires frequently, never drive with less than a quarter-tank of gas, be mindful of construction zones, and try to exit immediately if you start to have car problems.

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