TxDOT San Antonio’s HERO program sees 15 percent increase in incidents during recent rainfall

Program provides range of services that include roadside assistance, clearing crash scenes

TxDOT's HERO program was brought to the Alamo City in August of last year. Since then they respond to roughly 3,000 incidents a month.

SAN ANTONIO – The roadways can be a dangerous place for drivers, but TxDOT San Antonio wants to make sure a HERO is always there.

The Highway Emergency Response Operator program was brought to the Alamo City in August of 2020. Since then, they have responded to roughly 3,000 incidents a month.

Some of the services they provide include clearing a crash scene, clearing debris on the road, or even helping a stranded driver along the highway.

HERO program manager Mike King said it’s a busy job.

“(For) the program we actually patrol the highways of San Antonio. So we’re looking for those things that may impact traffic,” King said.

The program is funded through TxDOT, the city of San Antonio, Bexar County and the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

John Gianotti is the operations manager for Transguide for TxDOT San Antonio. He said it’s important for drivers to know HERO is there to help.

“Those services can be anything from a tire change, giving water to an over heating vehicle, or jumpstarting,” he said.

TxDOT HERO image. (KSAT)

HERO provides services along 239 miles of highway in the greater San Antonio area. The goal of the program is to create safer highways by keeping traffic flowing smoothly.

However, when weather becomes a problem, the job gets more important.

“Whenever we see the rain it just I guess magnifies the issues that are already there during dry weather,” Gionatti said.

HERO saw a 15 percent increase in incidents during July 6′s rainfall.

“The quicker we can clear an incident the less chance we have of a secondary crash happening,” Gionatti said.

Gionatti believes the busy times are proof a program like HEROS is needed in San Antonio.

“Safety is our priority everyday and the safety of the traveling public is our top concern,” he said.

The program currently has 12 routes that stretch up to Boerne and New Braunfels. More data is being gathered to determine where the services can be expanded to.

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About the Author:

Steven Cavazos is a traffic anchor and general assignments reporter in the weekday mornings at KSAT 12.