The Virginia Department of Transportation is warning drivers to stay away from Interstate 95 Tuesday morning so crews can free up hundreds of drivers who remain stranded or in slow-moving traffic in temperatures well-below freezing, in what officials are describing as an “unprecedented” event.
The situation currently unfolding in Northern Virginia comes after a winter storm dumped up to a foot of snow and toppled trees across the Fredericksburg region Monday. Interstate-95 is still closed between Exits 104-152 in the northbound and southbound directions, leading to Washington, D.C. There are reports that drivers have been trapped on the icy roads for at most 19 hours, including Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.
“We know that many travelers have been stuck on Interstate 95 for unusual periods of time in our region over the past 24hrs, in some cases since Monday morning. This is unprecedented, and we continue to steadily move stopped trucks to make progress toward restoring lanes,” Marcie Parker, an engineer with the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Fredericksburg district, said in a statement.
DRIVERS TRAPPED VIRGINIA INTESTATE AS TEMPERATURES DROPED DURING THE NIGHT
“In addition to clearing trucks, we treat for snow and several inches ice that has accumulated to ensure that motorists can safely travel to their destination when lanes reopen,” she said.
VDOT also stated that plans are in place to direct vehicles currently stopped on interstates to nearby interchanges where they can access alternative routes. VDOT also stated that resources from Virginia have been deployed to support debris, road treatment, and clearance efforts on I-95, state-maintained roads in Fredericksburg, with more trucks arriving today.
One rescue was made by a caller. Fox5 DCHe had a medical condition and “everything was stuck” so I panicked.
“They had to come get me… they picked us up and brought us to the hospital,” he said to the station while getting emotional.
WTOP also reported that drivers have been stuck in their vehicles for over 15 hours.
VIRGINIA SEN.TIM KAINE AMONG THOSE STANDED IN I-95 Winter Storm DISASTER
In a thread on Twitter NBC News reporter Josh LedermanTuesday morning, Tuesday morning, it was reported that the “interstate is completely littered by disabled vehicles.” Not just cars. Semis, everything. Nobody can move. People are running out or abandoning their cars.
“People tried for a while to free stuck cars by pushing with their feet. Most quickly gave up. But what then? He said that there is no way for any tow truck in the thousands of cars backing up to get to you now.”
Later, he tweeted that after 11 hour, a portion the northbound lanes were moving again but that the southbound lane was still “completely shut down” and that the line of backed cars was “MILES long”.
Kristen Powers, a reporter for ABC7, also claims she is stuck in the mess. tweeted this morning that another driver told her that she “thought she was going for a 15-minute drive, so she didn’t bring any food or water,” but ended up being “stuck for almost 12 hours and is now running low on gas.”
“I’m told some people have been leaving their car to walk miles for food. Others have begun to ask people in nearby cars/trucks for food and water. People are turning their cars off to save gas,” she wrote. She also noted that traffic seems to be moving forward as of 5:30 a.m.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in a tweetAccording to, “an emergency message is being sent to all stranded motorists, connecting them to support, while the state is working with localities in order to open warming shelters as necessary.”
He said that while sunlight is expected to assist @VaDOT in clearing the road, Virginians should still avoid 1-95. “State and local emergency personnel continue to clear down trees, assist disabled cars, and re-route motorists.”
Fox News Digital was informed by the Virginia National Guard that it had not received any requests for assistance in 24 hours. However, the Guard continues to monitor the situation and will respond to any request.
Real-time updates on Google Maps showed ongoing traffic-related issues on roads starting on I-95 in Ruther Glen – just north of Richmond – all the way up to exits at the Pentagon.
Temperatures across the region currently remain in the high teens and aren’t expected to pass the freezing mark until midday Tuesday, offering little natural relief to the situation.
VDOT stated that “crews will continue to respond in an emergency response 24 hours a days until all roads are passable.”
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Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News