Drivers have been stuck on Interstate 95 in the Stafford County, Virginia, area for more than 15 hours after multiple trucks crashed amid a major snowstorm that left snow and ice packed onto the road.
Many drivers are out of gas. Some don’t have food or water. Some say they have kids, pets and family members with medical needs in the car.
“We are getting to people as soon as we can. We understand the severity of the situation,” Virginia Department of Transportation spokesperson Kelly Hannon said.
Chopper4 flew over Interstate 95 on Tuesday morning, where drivers had been stranded for 15 hours or more.
VDOT says a plan is underway to guide trapped vehicles to interchanges and alternate routes. Prince William County firefighters were seen handing out blankets and water bottles Tuesday morning as the traffic nightmare continued.
Gov. Ralph Northam’s office says it is working to open warming centers. Northam said sunlight should help crews clear off roads but encouraged everyone to avoid I-95.
U.S. Sen. for Virginia Tim Kaine said he was caught in the extreme gridlock.
“I started my normal 2 hour drive to DC at 1pm yesterday. 19 hours later, I’m still not near the Capitol,” Kaine said on Twitter. He said his office is in touch with transportation officials.
Driver Anne Gould said traffic stopped on Monday afternoon while she was on her annual trek to Florida. By Tuesday at about 6:20 a.m., Gould said she had only moved ahead in the gridlock by a few car lengths.
“There’s cars and trucks as far as I can see behind me, and in front of me, and it’s looked like this for 12 hours,” she said Tuesday morning.
As of 7 a.m. Tuesday, traffic was at a standstill. The Virginia Department of Transportation confirmed both directions of I-95 are shut down between Ruther Glen, in Caroline County, and Exit 152 in Dumfries, Prince William County. That’s a 48-mile closure through the Fredericksburg area, which recorded 14.1 inches of snow Monday.
“We are working to get traffic moving again as best we can using every available interchange between Prince William & Caroline counties,” VDOT Fredericksburg said. “There are interchanges at the following mm: Exit 104, 110 Caroline, 118, 126 Spotsy, 130 FXBG 133, 136, 140, 143, 148 Stafford, 150 & 152 PW.”
Virginia State Police said the lengthy closure was implemented so crews could safely reach stranded motorists. The agency said it has responded to hundreds of crashes since the early Monday, but there have been few injuries and no deaths.
“This is unprecedented, and we continue to steadily move stopped trucks to make progress toward restoring lanes,” VDOT Fredericksburg District Engineer Marcie Parker said in a statement.
“In addition to clearing the trucks, we are treating for snow and several inches of ice that has accumulated around them to ensure that when the…