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Question of the Quarter

The INDOT Hoosier Helpers added extra patrol coverage during the week of The Big Game, and every spring the GDOT HERO’s increase coverage during The Master’s Tournament.
Are there special annual events and/or large gatherings in your area that alter/increase your standard coverage schedule? What special events in your area could use additional SSP presence?

“Florida’s Turnpike, being the main route to the SunLife Stadium, and the Homestead-Miami Speedway, usually sees a significant increase in traffic flow during events at these venues. In addition there are several places of interest that are strategically located close to the Turnpike, namely nationally known malls and flea markets, and the Palm Beach County fair ground, that increases Turnpike flow at the interchanges that provide access to these locations. Increased Safety Patrol coverages are a great benefit to everyone during these times. Turnpike Safety Patrol coverages are also modified on most public holidays when traffic is at its peak for most of the day/night and also, unfortunately, there are increased incidents involving impaired and distracted drivers.”

Ian Ramjas, Supervisor, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, State Farm Safety Patrol

“Here in Hawaii we have had some unusual instances where we have deployed extra FSP coverage. Since I have been here (almost three years) we have dodged two hurricanes and participated in two tsunami alerts (earthquakes off of Chile and Japan). Each tsunami alert brought it’s own challenges. During the first alert, Honolulu Police Department (HPD) sent most of their personnel down into the Waikiki beach area to assist with evacuating visitors from along the coast. FSP had sole freeway responsibility for detecting and relocating stranded vehicles and moving them to higher ground.

During the second tsunami alert, and due to the dramatic video coming out of Japan, we were forced to move our entire FSP fleet to higher ground. Our facility was very close to the danger area for flooding. That meant calling up our FSP drivers and having them report to work at 1 AM (two hours ahead of the expected arrival of the first tsunami wave). Since the tsunami was to hit Oahu about 3 AM, traffic was extremely light and we were able to just stage our fleet and drivers and wait for any problems that may have occurred. Fortunately, there were no problems with the Honolulu freeway system nor was there any flooding around our tow facility.  All in all, these events allowed us to develop a plan of action and then mobilize our FSP resources on short notice and after normal working hours.

In addition, last November 2011, Hawaii hosted the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference (APEC) in which the heads of state from more than 20 countries, including President Obama, came to Oahu to participate in the conference. Hawaii FSP worked alongside Honolulu Police Department and the US Secret Service to assist with freeway closures when they were escorting the dignitaries  around the island. This included relocating stranded vehicles off the freeway ahead of an anticipated motorcades. Normally, FSP is deployed only Monday thru Friday (14 hours per day), but due to the event’s schedule, FSP worked a scheduled holiday and the entire weekend during the event as well.

In all the above mentioned incidents Hawaii FSP received high praises from our allied agencies and our client Hawaii Dept. of Transportation.

Harvey Heaton, Project Manager, Hawaii Freeway Service Patrol Project, Telvent

“In the past, we have expanded HELP patrols for the U.S. Open and the Great New York State Fair.  As part of our regional Traffic Incident Management program, NYSDOT works closely with the coordinators of these major special events to determine if additional HELP patrols are necessary and available. In addition, we have had expanded coverage for major travel holidays and summer hours on Long Island for the peak beach season.

Rebecca Gibson, PE, New York State DOT, HELP Patrol

“We have had a couple of Sport related events where we have added some extra units, such as the Super Bowl, the NBA Championship  and two Nascar events each year. We have also been utilized for some parades and protests.  Pretty much anything that effects the normal flow of freeway traffic, we will try to assist when requested by local law enforcement.

Mark Taylor, Safety/ Training Coordinator, Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, Courtesy Patrol

Back to Safe Highway Matters: Spring 2012

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