Hundreds of drivers have been stranded for hours on Interstate 95 in Northern Virginia after tractor-trailers jackknifed in the ice and snow, causing a chain reaction of vehicles to lose control on the icy road. After a huge winter storm dumped up to a foot of snow, cars were unable to move along a 50-mile stretch of the interstate, leaving some drivers stranded in their vehicles since Monday morning (Jan. 3).
According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, both directions of traffic on I-95 were at a standstill on Monday between Ruther Glen, Virginia and exit 152 in Dumfries, Prince William County. Early on Tuesday morning (Jan. 4), the agency said “crews will start taking people off at any available interchange to get them.”
“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,” Marcie Parker, an engineer with the department, said in a statement. “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,” she added.
The Virginia Department of Transportation also said that “plans are underway to guide vehicles currently stopped on interstate to nearby interchanges, where they can access alternate routes” and that “resources from across Virginia have been deployed to support debris removal, road treatment and clearance efforts on I-95 and state-maintained roads in the Fredericksburg area, with more trucks arriving this morning.”
Stranded overnight in freezing temperatures, many drivers say they are without food and water and running low on fuel.
One driver “thought she was going for a 15-minute drive, so she didn’t bring any food or water,” but ended up being “stuck for almost 12 hours and is now running low on gas,” ABC7 reporter Kristen Powers, who is also stuck in the standstill, tweeted.
“I’m told some people have been leaving their car to walk miles for food. Others have started to ask nearby people in stuck cars/trucks for any food or water. People are turning on and off their cars trying to conserve gas,” she added.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced in a tweet that “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 continued. “State and local emergency personnel are continuing to clear downed trees, assist disabled vehicles, and re-route drivers.”
According to Fox News Digital, the Virginia National Guard is on standby. See posts about the dire situation on Twitter below.
An aerial view of the drivers who have been stuck on I-95 in Virginia since Monday afternoon, with complaints of little food and water pic.twitter.com/ROHh3oY73o
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 4, 2022
Some snow-struck drivers have been stopped on the Beltway Outer Loop near National Harbor, Route 50 near the South River, I-95 in Stafford County for more than 5 hours. pic.twitter.com/EkYDypBSxs
— Dave Dildine (@DildineWTOP) January 3, 2022
Hello trucker here currently stuck on i95 SB – for all reading if you are stuck and or know someone else stuck in this mess tell them to reach out to any truckers by them for food/ water if needed. We carry extra for situ like this. Plz stay safe and warm.
— Emily Slaughter (@MLE_NYC) January 4, 2022
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
— Jim DeFede (@DeFede) January 4, 2022
A CT family returning in a packed car from Florida walked by in the middle of the night handing out oranges as we were stopped for hours on I-95. Bless them! pic.twitter.com/MrmZ1ZF6JJ
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) January 4, 2022
I’m told some people have been leaving their car to walk miles for food. Others have started to ask nearby people in stuck cars/trucks for any food or water. People are turning on and off their cars trying to conserve gas. @7NewsDC
— Kristen Powers (@Kristen7News) January 4, 2022