At Interstate 95 in Stafford County, Virginia, for more than 15 hours, several trucks crashed in the middle of a major blizzard, leaving drivers stranded as the road was filled with snow and ice.
Many drivers have no gas. Some have no food or water. Some say the car contains children, pets and family members with medical needs.
“We go to people as soon as we can. We understand the seriousness of the situation, “said Kelly Hannon, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation.
On Tuesday morning, Sopper 4 flew over 95 between states, where drivers were stranded for 15 hours or more.
VDOT says a program is underway to guide and relocate stranded vehicles. Tuesday morning Prince William County firefighters were seen delivering blankets and bottles of water.
Governor Ralph Northam’s office said work was underway to open the warming centers. Northam said the sunlight crew should help clear the roads, but encouraged everyone to avoid the I-95.
U.S. Sen. Tim Cain, of Virginia, said he was in serious trouble.
“I started my regular 2 hour trip to DC at 1pm yesterday. 19 hours later, I’m not even close to Capitol yet,” Cain said on Twitter. He said his office is in contact with transportation officials.
Driver Anne Gold said traffic was halted while she was on her annual trek to Florida on Monday afternoon. At 6:20 a.m. Tuesday, Gold said only a few car lengths had improved at Gridlock.
“Behind me, there are as many cars and trucks as I can see in front of me, and it’s been like this for 12 hours,” he said Tuesday morning.
Traffic came to a standstill as of 7 a.m. Tuesday. The Virginia Department of Transportation has confirmed that both directions on I-95 are closed between Ruther Glenn in Caroline County and Exit 152 in Dumfries, Prince William County. It is a 48-mile closure through the Friedrichsburg area. 14.1 inches of snow was recorded on Monday.
“We are working to re-transport as much traffic as we can using every transaction between the districts of Prince William & Caroline,” VDOT Friedrichsburg said. “Transfers are in the following mm: Exit 104, 110 Caroline, 118, 126 Spotsey, 130 FXBG 133, 136, 140, 143, 148 Stafford, 150 & 152 PW.”
Virginia State Police enforced a long closure so teams could safely reach stranded motorists. The company said it had responded to hundreds of accidents since Monday, but some injuries and no casualties.
“This is unprecedented and we continue to move parked trucks to make progress in restoring tracks,” VDOT Fredericksburg District Engineer Marcy Parker said in a statement.
“We not only remove the trucks, but also treat the snow and the many inches of snow that have accumulated around them to ensure that motorists can safely reach their destination when the lanes are reopened,” Parker said.
All south lanes of I-95 at Mile Marker 136 near Centerport Parkway were closed following an accident involving six tractor-trailers at noon on Monday. No one was injured, but the clash contributed to large backups.
Hanan said drilling teams, plows and the Virginia State Police assisted in the effort. Staff blocked the road and tried to move the trucks.
Hanan said call 911 if you know of anyone in need of emergency medical care.
He told everyone else that he knew this was a bad situation and that they were working to get people home.
Nisha Semesta, who was trapped in the south for more than 12 hours with two cats in her car, said drivers could not even get off between states for supplies. The side roads were also impassable.
“We are very concerned about access to food, water and sanitation at this time,” he said. “I know some people are starting to worry about gas.”
Truck driver Emily Clementon suggested that people ask truck drivers if they have extra items such as snacks or water bottles. He said many truck drivers are ready if they get stuck.
Clementon said conditions changed when she and a co-driver entered Virginia.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Clementon said.
Hundreds of drivers were trapped or involved in an accident Across the area as snow fell until 3pm on Monday
Stay tuned to NBC Washington for more details on this growing story.
President Joe Biden has arrived in Washington amid a blizzard that is expected to bring 10 inches of snow to DC.