Drivers no longer stranded along I-95 in Virginia, officials say
(NewsNation Now) – The Virginia Department of Transportation has cleared all stranded drivers on a stretch of Interstate 95 where some cars have been stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic since Monday.
A spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation said Tuesday evening that there were no more motorists stranded on a now closed portion of Interstate 95. All disabled vehicles were also removed from the freeway. .
Travelers from Fredericksburg, Va., Have been stranded on Interstate 95 for long periods of time in the past 24 hours, in some cases since Monday morning, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
“This is unprecedented, and we continue to move stopped trucks on a regular basis to move forward with track restoration,” VDOT Fredericksburg District Engineer Marcie Parker said in an official statement. “In addition to cleaning the trucks, we treat the snow and several inches of ice that have built up around them to ensure that when the lanes reopen, motorists can safely reach their destinations.”
The problems began Monday morning when a truck jacked up on Interstate 95, the main north-south highway along the East Coast, setting off a rapid chain reaction as other vehicles lost control state police said.
What started as rain around 3 a.m. on Monday turned to snow between 5 and 6 a.m. Hours later.
Two-way lanes were blocked on a 40-mile stretch of road north of Richmond. As the hours passed and night fell, motorists posted messages on social media about the lack of fuel, food and water.
The couple from Virginie Linda and Paul Mason spent more than 10 hours in their car, weighing the cost of turning on the heating in their car or turning it off to save gasoline.
“We kept sitting and sitting, waiting for help and help never came,” said Linda Mason.
The pair had no problem until they arrived at what Linda Mason called “the epicenter of the storm” in Fredericksburg around 3:30 p.m. Monday. Two hours later, they “didn’t look in good shape at all,” she said.
Over the next several hours, the Masons rationed the food and water they had in their car until they could escape traffic with several others around 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Linda Mason said.
“We don’t know if we were supposed to leave or not, but we did,” she said.
The roads were still not salty, said Linda Mason.
It took the couple another three hours to travel the remaining 27 miles home, where they arrived only to find they had no power.
Virginia 911 operator Ryan Graham was also stranded for hours in his car on a nearby freeway.
“I try to get to work so I can help other people, but now I’ve been stuck for four hours. My relief, rather the person I was relieving, got stuck there, so it’s unfortunate, ”Graham said.
“It’s a shame they didn’t see this coming and weren’t prepared for it, to be honest with you.”
Devante Williams, an Uber driver from Washington DC, was also trapped on the road. He was dropping off a young woman when they got stuck on the road.
“My passenger, she was so distraught,” he told NewsNation’s Marni Hughes. “Apparently I picked her up at Union Station and her train was canceled due to a derailment, so she could only call Uber and I was her driver.
The two were stuck on the road for about five hours. Williams said he was only focused on getting the teenager back to her parents.
“She called her parents and panics. I had to explain to his parents that hey, I’m not a crazy person. I’m just trying to get your daughter to a safe place. When they got off the freeway, Williams ended up booking a hotel room for her passenger because she wasn’t old enough to have a room on her own.
“I wanted to make sure she was comfortable and I didn’t want to leave her stranded,” he said.
Also among the stranded drivers was Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who tweeted that his typical two-hour ride to Capitol Hill had already taken more than 19 hours.
The storm, which brought nearly a foot of snow to some places, closed federal offices, adjourned the Senate, and called off a White House media briefing.
Harsh weather conditions and coronavirus issues meant airlines were not doing well either.
According to Flightaware.com, more than 3,700 flights in, to and from the United States were delayed on Tuesday afternoon. More than 300 flights have been canceled at nearby Reagan Airport alone.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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