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Drivers Stranded for 15+ Hours on I-95 in Stafford County, Va. – NBC4 Washington

Drivers Stranded for 15+ Hours on I-95 in Stafford County, Va. – NBC4 Washington
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Drivers were stuck on Interstate 95 in Stafford County, Virginia, for more than 15 hours after several trucks crashed in the middle of a major blizzard that left snow and ice packed onto the road.

Many drivers ran out of fuel. Some have no food or water. Some say they have children, pets, and family members with medical needs in the car.

“We’re reaching people as quickly as we can. We understand the gravity of the situation,” said Kelly Hannon, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Chopper4 flew over Interstate 95 on Tuesday morning, stranding drivers for 15 hours or more.

VDOT says a plan is underway to direct the trapped vehicles to intersections and alternate routes. Prince William County firefighters were seen handing out blankets and water bottles Tuesday morning as the traffic nightmare continued.

Governor Ralph Northham’s office says it is working to open heating centers. Northham said sunlight should help crews clear the roads, but encouraged everyone to avoid I-95.

The US Senator for Virginia Tim Kaine said he got into a big bind.

“My normal two-hour flight to DC started at 1pm yesterday. 19 hours later, I’m still nowhere near the Capitol,” Keane said on Twitter. He said his office is in contact with transportation officials.

Driver Anne Gould said traffic came to a standstill on Monday afternoon while she was on her annual trip to Florida. By Tuesday at about 6:20 a.m., Gould said she only moved forward in case of crowding by a few car lengths.

“There are cars and trucks as far as I can see behind me, and in front of me, and it looked like this for 12 hours,” she said Tuesday morning.

As of 7 a.m. on Tuesday, traffic was off. The Virginia Department of Transportation has confirmed that both directions for I-95 are closed between Ruther Glen, in Caroline County, and Exit 152 in Dumfries, Prince William County. That’s a 48-mile shutdown across the Fredericksburg area, which recorded 14.1 inches of snow on Monday.

“We are working to get the traffic moving again as best we can using every available exchange between Prince William & Caroline counties,” VDOT Fredericksburg said. Junctions are found in the following millimeters: Exit 104, 110 Caroline, 118, 126 Spotsey, 130 FXB G 133, 136, 140, 143, 148 Stafford, 150 & 152 BW.

Virginia State Police said the extended shutdown has been implemented so crews can safely reach stranded motorists. The agency said it had responded to hundreds of crashes since the early hours of Monday, but only a handful of injuries and no fatalities.

“This is unprecedented, and we steadfastly continue to move parked trucks to make progress toward restoring trails,” VDOT Fredericksburg area engineer Marcy Parker said in a statement.

“In addition to evacuating trucks, we are treating snow and several inches of ice accumulated around to ensure that when lanes reopen, motorists can safely head to their destination,” Parker said.

All southbound lanes for I-95 have been closed at the 136 mile mark near Centreport Parkway after the crash of six tractor trailers at noon on Monday. No one was hurt, but this collision contributed to significant support operations.

Towing and plow crews and Virginia State Police were assisting in the effort, Hannon said. Crews were also trying to move trucks blocking roads.

Hannon said to call 911 if you know someone who needs urgent medical attention.

For others, she said she knows this is a painful situation, and they are working to get people home.

Nissa Smesta, who was stuck on the South Side for more than 12 hours with two cats in her car, said drivers couldn’t even get off the highway to get supplies. The side roads were also impassable.

“We are really concerned about our access to food, water and sanitation right now,” he said. “I know some people are starting to worry about gas.”

Truck driver Emily Clemson suggested that people ask truck drivers if they have extra supplies, such as snacks or bottles of water. She said many truck drivers are getting ready in case they are stranded.

Clementson said circumstances changed once she and her partner entered Virginia.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Clemson said.

Hundreds of drivers broke down or had accidents across the area on Monday as snow piled up until around 3 p.m.

Stay tuned with NBC Washington for more details on this cutting edge story.

President Joe Biden arrived in Washington, D.C., amid a snowstorm that is expected to bring 10 inches of snow to the region.


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