Hundreds of drivers stranded as long as 24 hours on icy I-95 in Virginia

Hundreds of drivers have been stuck for hours on I-95 in Fredericksburg, Virginia due to problems from a winter storm Monday, CBS Richmond affiliate WTVR-TV reports. Some have been there more than 24 hours, according to CBS Washington, D.C. affiliate WUSA-TV.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) said some vehicles have been there since Monday morning, adding that the storm dumped more than a foot of snow on parts of the region.

Some motorists had to spend the night in their vehicles without food or stable heat, in freezing temperatures, WTVR reported.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine is among those stranded — he has been trying to return to the U.S. Capitol since 1 p.m. Monday.

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 @VaDOT to see how we can help other Virginians in this situation. Please stay safe everyone. pic.twitter.com/Sz1b1hZJZ5

— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) January 4, 2022

VDOT said the backup was caused by disabled vehicles and downed trees on the icy highway. WUSA said the storm led to crashes, spinouts, stalled trucks and other blockages.

As of 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, traffic was at a standstill along 50 miles of the interstate from Prince William County to Caroline County, WTVR said.

The VDOT tweeted that a long stretch of I-95 was closed.

"Snow plows & tow trucks are on the scene. Motorists should plan to avoid travel on I-95 in this area until lanes re-open and significant congestion clears the area," the tweet said:

I-95 remains closed in the Fredericksburg area. Snow plows & tow trucks are on the scene. Motorists should plan to avoid travel on I-95 in this area until lanes reopen and significant congestion clears the area. pic.twitter.com/atCkun7zId

— VDOT (@VaDOT) January 4, 2022

VDOT said, "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 accumulated around them to ensure that when the lanes reopen, motorists can safely proceed to their destination," said Marcie Parker, P.E. VDOT Fredericksburg District Engineer.

This image provided by the Virginia department of Transportation shows a closed section of Interstate 95 near Fredericksburg, Va. Monday Jan. 3, 2022. / Credit: / AP
This image provided by the Virginia department of Transportation shows a closed section of Interstate 95 near Fredericksburg, Va. Monday Jan. 3, 2022. / Credit: / AP

Crews were using every available exit to clear vehicles.

As of Monday night, Virginia State Police said they'd gotten 2,600 calls for service across the commonwealth.

One driver told WUSA she left her house in Fredericksburg around 8 p.m. Monday and was still stuck south of Stafford on I-95 Tuesday morning.

Traffic at a standstill on I-95 in Virginia after January 3, 2022 winter storm. / Credit: WUSA-TV
Traffic at a standstill on I-95 in Virginia after January 3, 2022 winter storm. / Credit: WUSA-TV

"I'm fine, I'm tired," she said. "I didn't expect to be awake at this hour, and I didn't expect to be outside in the snow in gridlock traffic. ... All things considered, things could be worse."

Randy Anderson, a man from Mechanicsville who was driving home from a vacation in New Hampshire, was one of the many people stranded.

He told WTVR he made it to Washington D.C. around 4:30 p.m. on Monday. As of 11 p.m., he'd only made it to around Fredricksburg.

Meanwhile, Dominion Energy tweeted that crews restored power to nearly 100,000 homes and businesses overnight but some 140,000 still had no power as of 5:30 a.m., most of them in northern Virginia.

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