Freeway assistance program expands to weekends

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freewaySAN DIEGO — A long-running program in which tow truck drivers assist stalled freeway motorists with a gallon of gas, tire change or radiator water has expanded to weekends throughout San Diego County, the San Diego Association of Governments announced Thursday.

The Freeway Service Patrol program has been in place for years during commute times on weekdays, but expanded to major freeways around the county from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays this month, according to SANDAG. The goal is to get stalled vehicles off the freeway before traffic gets tied up.

The agency had operated weekend hours on Interstate 15 in the North County on a trial basis since October, with initial figures showing an average of one driver helped per hour. The weekend help is now be available along Interstates 5, 15, 8 and the 805 freeway.

“The Freeway Service Patrol is an effective tool to improve traffic flow on our region’s most congested freeways,” SANDAG Executive Director Gary Gallegos said. “This past year alone, the program helped more than 50,000 stranded motorists get back on the road or move their disabled vehicles out of the way.”

SANDAG said it plans to begin providing midday service Monday through Friday in July and add six tow trucks, for a total of 25.

Motorists who need the basic help provided by the program can call 511 and say “roadside assistance.”

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