Iowa DOT Launches Highway Helper Program In Council Bluffs

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COUNCIL BLUFFS (FOX42KPTM) - If you're ever in need of roadside emergency assistance in the Council Bluffs area, a new service can help.

"It's very valuable," said Craig Keul, a driver for the new service.

From screwdrivers to traffic cones to an air compressor, where there's a problem east of the Missouri River there's now a Highway Helper. It's an Iowa Department of Transportation vehicle equipped with tools to prevent danger.

"We can pretty much almost do about anything with the truck," said Keul. "You never know what's going to happen with the vehicles on the side of the road, so this new service is handy to have around."

Even if your car runs out of fuel, the Highway Helper is now available to help. There's already plenty of gas loaded up inside.

"There are actually two trucks that are going to be assigned to this area," said Scott Suhr, a district transportation planner.

Suhr told FOX 42 News Wednesday he remembers what life was like before the launch of the Highway Helper. One year, he said, construction combined with a bad accident caused a big mess.

"We took the traffic and diverted it off to Highway 6, which was our alternate route at the time, and that 45 minute delay gridlocked the city for three hours," said Suhr.

It's the kind of gridlock the city and drivers hope never to see again. That's why they're counting on the Highway Helper to work out.

"It just kind of assures everybody," said Keul.

The Iowa Department of Transportation told FOX 42 News Wednesday the service is free of charge. We're also told it recently launched in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.

In Council Bluffs, there will be two roving patrols between the hours of 6 A.M. and 7 P.M. on weekdays.

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