GDOT’s CHAMP service preparing for holiday traffic

GDOT’s CHAMP service preparing for holiday traffic

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The rush to get out of town for Thanksgiving is already underway.

Triple-A says more than 49 million Americans are expected to drive at least 50 miles over the holiday. That’s not including the more than 27 million expected to fly to their destination.

If you do plan on driving or if you know someone who will be traveling through Georgia, there are two things to remember. One is Georgia is a hands free state, meaning talking, texting or even holding a phone while driving is illegal.

Second, if you run into trouble on the interstate, there’s a free service that can help you out. And that’s GDOT’s CHAMP service.

Scott Henderson is a CHAMP operator for GDOT’s District 5. Over the course of his shift, he covers portions of I-16 and I-95, following calls from dispatch and keeping an eye out for anyone in need.

“Our number one goal is to make the traveling public safe, and to also make sure the scene is safe for emergency responders who are out here working on the roads,” said Henderson.

Henderson says he’s noticed an up-tick in holiday traffic already, and expects the number of travelers to go up.

“We’re out here helping these people in a time that’s very stressful for them. Whether it be a blow-out, they run out of fuel, we’re a comforting face, we’re the face of GDOT. And we want to be as friendly as possible while we’re out here doing that job,” he said.

Even if he’s only running interference while drivers wrap up changing a tire, Henderson is always sure to share the scope of CHAMPS services, even if they’re not needed at that very moment.

“We offer free road-side assistance on any interstate in Georgia, just dial 511. We do tire changes, fuel assists, battery boosts. It’s a totally free service provided by GDOT,” he said.

A service that travelers, local or not, will likely be calling on this holiday season.

And just a heads up as well, GDOT announced they’ll be suspending any construction-related lane closures on heavily traveled interstates and state routes starting Wednesday morning through next Monday morning.

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