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The city says roving tow trucks that move broken down vehicles blocking rush hour traffic on major routes are having an effect. ((CBC))

Having tow trucks on hand to clear away stalled vehicles before they create traffic jams is reducing rush-hour headaches in Calgary, according to the city.

In February the city approved a one-year test project — costing $636,000 — to have five tow trucks focus on major commuting routes, keeping broken down vehicles from blocking traffic during the morning and evening rush hour.

The rigs have responded to an average of seven incidents per day, the city said Tuesday.

The truck operators have assisted at about 255 incidents involving vehicles that were stalled or inoperable, moving them to a nearby safe location.

The tow trucks are assigned to:

  • Crowchild Trail at the Bow River crossing.
  • Memorial Drive between Deerfoot Trail and downtown.
  • Macleod Trail South from Anderson Road to 162nd Avenue S.W.
  • Glenmore Trail between Crowchild Trail and 14th Street S.W.

A fifth tow truck also patrols Deerfoot Trail.

The city's Traffic Management Centre also directs truck operators to help motorists in trouble who are spotted by traffic cameras.

In one instance, a tow truck operator assisted a driver in medical distress by calling an ambulance, staying until emergency crews arrived and then moving the vehicle to a nearby safe location, the city said.

The city is monitoring the success of the trial service — free to motorists — and will report back to council by November.