Normally the Georgia Department of Transportation’s HEROs, or Highway Emergency Response Operators, stick to Atlanta highways, but for one week every year in April trucks are sent to the Garden City.
Richmond County sheriff’s Capt. Scott Gay said the HEROs are a “huge asset to the operation.”
The primary duty of HERO trucks, which are fluorescent yellow and have 12- to 14-foot digital message boards, is to clear roads so that normal traffic flow is maintained. The trucks carry water, gas, antifreeze, starter fluid and other items to get disabled vehicles moving. They also can pull an 80,000-pound, 18-wheel tractor-trailer.
Their officers are trained in first aid and hazardous material handling and are first-responder certified.
Gay said the trucks have been used primarily through the main Masters Tournament traffic area – Interstate 20, Washington Road and River Watch Parkway.
“With them here, it certainly saves us from sending deputies out to disabled vehicles,” Gay said.
The trucks also have been used every morning near the Washington Road exit ramp from Interstate 20, which has been closed from 7:30 to 10 a.m. The digital signs are designed to be seen by 70-plus mph traffic.