“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. 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 accumulatd around them to ensure that when the lanes reopen, motorists can safely proceed to their destination,” said Marcie Parker, the agency’s Fredericksburg District engineer.
According to AP, hundreds of motorists were stranded all night in snow and freezing temperatures along a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 95 after a crash involving six tractor-trailers in Virginia, where authorities were struggling Tuesday to reach them.
Both directions of traffic on I-95 came to a standstill Monday between Ruther Glen, Virginia, in Caroline County and exit 152 in Dumfries, Prince William County, the Virginia Department of Transportation said. “Crews will start taking people off at any available interchange to get them,” the agency tweeted at 5:20 a.m. Tuesday.
Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted that 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 added.
Crews were working to remove stopped trucks, plow snow, de-ice the roadway and guide stranded motorists to the nearest exits along the U.S. East Coast’s main north-south highway, the transportation agency said.
Between 7 to 11 inches of snow accumulated in the area during Monday’s blizzard, according to the National Weather Service, and thousands of accidents and stranded vehicles were reported throughout central and northern Virginia. As of 3:30 p.m. Monday, Virginia State Police said troopers had responded to more than 2,000 calls for service due to treacherous road conditions.
Compounding the challenges, traffic cameras went offline as much of central Virginia lost power in the storm, VDOT said. More than 281,000 customers remained without electricity on Tuesday, according to poweroutage.us.