Program providing free towing service expands to unincorporated Harris County, handful of new cities

A map depicts the Houston-area freeways where the Tow and Go program is available. The program offers free towing service to stranded motorists. (Courtesy Tow and Go)
A map depicts the Houston-area freeways where the Tow and Go program is available. The program offers free towing service to stranded motorists. (Courtesy Tow and Go)

A map depicts the Houston-area freeways where the Tow and Go program is available. The program offers free towing service to stranded motorists. (Courtesy Tow and Go)

A program providing free towing service on camera-operated freeways expanded in early August to cover freeways in unincorporated Harris County as well as in several new cities, including Bellaire, Humble, Jersey Village and La Porte.

The Tow and Go program, which was launched in 2018 by the Houston-Galveston Area Council, previously only covered freeways inside the city of Houston's city limits.

In a statement, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the program helps lower the chances of a stalled vehicle on the road causing a second accident.

"We respond to several accidents with stranded motorists on the freeways or on the side of the road a year that put both the motorists and our first responders at risk," he said. "The expansion of this quick clearance program is another step toward reducing secondary incidents, keeping traffic moving and, most importantly, saving lives."

Drivers who find themselves stranded because of a mechanical failure can call 713-881-3333 to request the service or download an app from the Apple App Store or Google Play store. The freeways covered by Tow and Go include portions of I-45, Hwy. 59, Hwy. 290, I-10, Hwy. 288, Loop 610 and pieces of Hwy. 249 in Northwest Harris County, Hwy. 246 in La Porte and Beltway 8 in the Spring area. The service is limited to parts of the freeway that can be monitored by cameras.

Tow truck drivers are authorized by law enforcement officers with help from the Houston TranStar Traffic Center, where officials use cameras to monitor vehicles in real time. A tow truck then tows the vehicle to a safe location within one mile of the nearest exit.

Tow truck drivers involved in the program are required to complete roadway safety and traffic incident management training, according to an Aug. 5 press release from H-GAC.

Vehicles involved in an accident or other law enforcement incident, vehicles that flooded and vehicles that were abandoned are not eligible for the service. Motorcycles are eligible, and trailers can be towed when possible, according to the release.

H-GAC officials said the program will eventually be expanded to freeways in neighboring counties where camera footage is available.

Kristina Michel, a senior writer and editor with H-GAC, said there are no immediate plans to expand the service to toll roads such as the Grand Parkway or Westpark Tollway. However, she noted that the Harris County Toll Road Authority provides its own motorist service patrol for the Sam Houston Tollway, the Westpark Tollway and managed lanes on the Katy Freeway.

As of June, H-GAC officials estimate 67,891 no-cost tows have been provided since the launch of the program. The program is managed by H-GAC with congestion relief funding made available through the State Highway Fund and the Texas Department of Transportation.
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


Texas Central
Texas Central Railroad bullet train project receives rulings on safety framework, selected alignment

Construction for the high-speed bullet train system is slated to begin in the first half of 2021 and to be completed in 2027.

Jersey Village City Council members debated a proposed Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone at a Sept. 21 virtual meeting. (Screenshot courtesy Zoom)
Jersey Village considers tax zone as new tool to address flooding

The concept could help advance "teardown-rebuild" efforts on Jersey Drive.

See how Cy-Fair ISD stacks up to neighboring districts, including Katy, Klein and Tomball ISDs. (Community Impact staff)
See how Cy-Fair ISD compares to neighboring districts in salaries, enrollment

See how Cy-Fair ISD stacks up to neighboring districts, including Katy, Klein and Tomball ISDs.

The deadline to register to vote in Harris County is approaching. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Here’s how to register to vote in Harris County

Sept. 22 is National Voter Registration Day, a nonpartisan, civic effort to encourage eligible U.S. citizens to confirm their voter registration status in time for the upcoming election.

Harris County continues to report more confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Cy-Fair area. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
56 new COVID-19 cases reported in Cy-Fair on Sept. 22

Harris County has reported more than 19,000 Cy-Fair cases since the start of the pandemic.

The Harris County Department of Education lowered its tax rate for the 2020-21 fiscal year. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Harris County Department of Education lowers tax rate for 2020-21

For the average homestead valued at $182,484, that means taxpayers will contribute $9.11 to support its programs.

Frost operates more than 50 financial centers in the Houston area. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Frost opens new Blackhorse Financial Center in Cypress

The lobby is currently open by appointment only, but the site’s ATM operates from 6 a.m.-midnight daily.

Esthetix Skin Care opened in August. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Esthetix Skin Care now open in Vintage Park area

The new business offers specialty skin care treatments, eyelash services and facial waxing.

(Design by Tessa Hoefle/Community Impact Newspaper)
CAMPUS DATA: See how Cy-Fair ISD campuses compare in enrollment, demographics

Cy-Fair ISD is an increasingly diverse school district with more than 100 languages and dialects spoken by students.

Bevin Gordon (left) and William McDugle were sworn in as new Harris County ESD No. 9 commissioners after two standing commissioners stepped down (photos courtesy Bevin Gordon, William McDugle)
Harris County ESD No. 9 cancels November election after board members step down and new commissioners appointed

The two new commissioners join the ESD No. 9 board as it oversees a transition of the Cy-Fair Fire Department and plans to construct several new stations in the coming years.

Another 1,372 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Harris County over the Sept. 19-20 weekend along with 48 deaths caused by the virus. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: Texas Medical Center positivity rate under 5% for two straight weeks

A low positivity rate is one of three metrics medical center officials are tracking that they say may indicate a declining spread of the virus.

Free COVID-19 testing will be available to festival staff, participants and patrons every weekend of the festival this fall. (Courtesy Steven David Photography)
Free COVID-19 testing at Texas Renaissance Festival and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.