GDOT unveils ‘CHAMP’ their latest road side assistance vehicle

THOMASTON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – GDOT’s latest roadway vehicle is taking roadside assistance and maintenance to new heights.

“So the CHAMPS are going to be patrolling all main interstates in the state of Georgia. Their main roles are to provide motor assistance as motorists need help. They’ll help with incidents, manage incidents as they occur and protect first responders,” said State Traffic Engineer Andrew Heath.

They’re similar to the HERO vehicles you may have seen on interstates around metro Atlanta, but Heath says the CHAMPS have a slightly different focus.

“Although they will provide emergency roadway assistance, they are going to be tailored a little more toward maintenance issues as well.”

They’ll pick up debris and anything else that could get in a driver’s way.

“If potholes are noticed, signs are damaged, or guard rails are damaged, they’ll be reporting that to the district to get out there and fix that in a much more timely manner than they currently do,” Heath continued.

GDOT’s CHAMPS are equipped with 48 full time operators, 18 full time dispatchers and a fleet of 50 trucks. The program has already hit the highway running with 174 dispatch 511 calls in its first 24 hours.

These are calls that operator John Broudway says he’s been answering for more than 30 years.

“The way I see it, most people, if they’re stranded on the side of the road they’ll call AAA and they’re given an ETA of 2 to 3 hours. But most people don’t realize that most times they’re actually an object to be struck,” Broudway said.

He believes drivers not paying close enough attention can be a danger to stranded drivers as well as the first responders themselves.

“Most times what we do is set the traffic control, cones are set, it gives the officer the opportunity to go ahead and work the accident and not have to worry about traffic control. They can focus, worry about their job and then that means it’ll be quicker for them to get off the road,” Broudway continued.

Every CHAMPS aim is to protect drivers on the roads by keeping the interstates clear.

Categories: Georgia News, Local News, WMGT

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