Onondaga County now included in New York's free roadside service
New York state's free roadside service is expanding to Onondaga County, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.
The Highway Emergency Local Patrol (HELP) service travels highways during the morning and afternoon rush hours to provide traffic control at incidents and make minor repairs that get disabled motorists back on the road to improve highway safety and reduce congestion. The service in Onondaga County began on Dec. 1.
"This administration is committed to improving safety and infrastructure resiliency across the New York, and this new HELP service in the Syracuse area is critical to keeping New Yorkers safe and on the move," Cuomo said. "This service expansion will improve highway safety in Onondaga County and help motorists get where they need to go safe and sound."
The HELP program, run by the State Department of Transportation, will patrol Syracuse-area highways weekdays during rush hours. Two active trucks and one backup truck will patrol 69 miles of road from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. and again from 3 to 6 p.m.
The new trucks will continuously patrol specific areas, including:
- Interstate 81 starting at Exit 30 (Route 31), south past Syracuse Hancock International Airport and Syracuse University to Exit 16A (Interstate 481 junction), then north on I-81 to Exit 29 (I-481 Cicero), for a total of 31.5 miles.
- Interstate 690 from Exit 2 (Jones Road) east to Exit 6 (Route 695), south to Route 5 and then back north to I-690 again. The route then proceeds east through Syracuse to I-481, then south on I-481 to Exit 3 (Routes 5&92) for a total of 36.8 miles.
HELP offers minor repairs, such as jump starts and tire changes, that get disabled vehicles back on the road. The governor's office said this service helps reduces congestion and also improves safety by eliminating the chance of secondary crashes, a type of accident that happens in the traffic backup created by a first crash or a disabled vehicle on the roadside.
"The new traffic management service being provided on Syracuse highways during commuting hours will enhance road safety for motorists and keep our police officers, paramedics, fire fighters and tow operators safe from harm as well," Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said. "Governor Cuomo has continually made smart economic and public safety investments in Syracuse and throughout Onondaga County during his tenure and we thank him for expanding HELP service into Syracuse."
HELP service is already available in the Capital District, Rochester, Buffalo, the Lower Hudson Valley, Long Island and New York City.