I-95 reopens in Virginia after drivers stranded for 18+ hours following snowstorm
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. - Interstate 95 in Virginia reopened Tuesday night after hundreds of drivers were stranded, a majority of them spending the night in their vehicles when a major snowstorm struck the D.C. region Monday creating gridlock on the roadway.
The incident began with a major crash involving several tractor trailers Monday afternoon. Traffic along a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 95 came to a standstill shortly after centered around the Fredericksburg area.
VDOT says I-95 is now open and all disabled vehicles have been removed from the interstate.
Between 7 to 11 inches of snow accumulated in the area Monday with much of it freezing as the sun went down. As of 3:30 p.m. Monday, Virginia State Police said troopers had responded to more than 2,000 calls for service due to hazardous road conditions.
The shutdown impacted northbound and southbound lanes from exit 152 (Dumfries Road) to exit 104 (Carmel Church). That stretch of roadway remained closed into Tuesday morning.
Gov. Ralph Northam spoke with FOX 5 about the situation and said his team responded through the night alongside state police, transportation and emergency management officials. "An emergency message is going to all stranded drivers connecting them to support, and the state is working with localities to open warming shelters as needed. While sunlight is expected to help @VaDOT clear the road, all Virginians should continue to avoid 1-95," he tweeted Tuesday morning.
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"We know many travelers have been stuck on Interstate 95 in our region for extraordinary periods of time over the past 24 hours, in some cases since Monday morning," said Marcie Parker, VDOT Fredericksburg District Engineer, in a statement released Tuesday morning. "This is unprecedented, and we continue to steadily move stopped trucks to make progress toward restoring lanes. 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 lanes reopen, motorists can safely proceed to their destination,"
As frustrations mounted Tuesday, some drivers were spotted turning around on parts of Interstate 95 in Virginia and driving the wrong way in an attempt to escape traffic.
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine said he has been struck in traffic on Interstate 95 along with other drivers for 19 hours overnight.
"I started my normal 2 hour drive to DC at 1pm yesterday. 19 hours later, I’m still not near the Capitol. My office is in touch with VDOT to see how we can help other Virginians in this situation. Please stay safe everyone," he tweeted Tuesday morning.
The Senate says they postponed their noon vote Tuesday because of the highway shutdown and possibly Kaine's absence.
By 1 p.m. Tuesday VDOT said they were detouring motorists who were on I-95 between Caroline County and Prince William County.
FOX 5 spoke with many motorists who shared their frustration and described feeling as they remained stranded on the stretch of interstate.