ODOT Launches New Freeway Patrol to Combat CongestionAbstract:
Delaware – Stuck in traffic’ Stalled on the side of the road’ The Ohio Department of Transportation is launching a new freeway service patrol that could be instrumental in getting you and thousands of Columbus-area motorists moving. On Tuesday, ODOT will launch FIRST, the Freeway Incident Response Service Team – the first of its kind in central Ohio. ODOT officials hope crews will be first on the scene, helping police and emergency crews remove stalled vehicles, accidents and spills from the interstate more quickly. More than 50 percent of congestion in urban areas is caused by such incidents, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The FIRST team consists of four trucks that will patrol Interstate 270 and interstates 670, 71 and 70 within the outerbelt, as well as State Route 315. ODOT will run two shifts each weekday, providing service from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Crews may also work weekends during special events. The program is estimated to cost about $575,000 annually. FIRST’s primary focus will be detecting and responding to minor incidents, such as property damage accidents, flat tires, stalled cars and debris in the roadway.