Update (1315ET): A large stretch of Interstate 95 south of the nation's capital remained in gridlock when tractor-trailers crashed in a winter storm on Monday. Hundreds of motorists have been stranded on the highway for more than 17 hours. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has given no timeline on when the clusterf**k will be resolved.
CBS4 News in Miami's Jim DeFede is one of the motorists stuck in the mess. He said, "somebody better do something because there are cars and families just trapped here," adding that he hasn't seen a state trooper nor tow truck in hours.
DeFede provided another update saying he's "been in the same spot in Virginia - just south of Quantico - for at least 17 or 18 hours."
An update from I95 pic.twitter.com/Ytg6ELp37B— Jim DeFede (@DeFede) January 4, 2022
Motorists were so desperate and hungry that they begged for food. A bread truck reportedly handed out food to families.
Highway traffic maps show the stretch of I-95 remains at a standstill.
VDOT is having trouble clearing the roads because so many people walked off the interstate and abandoned their vehicles to seek shelter.
Per VDOT, one of the problems with clearing I-95 "is some people just abandoned their vehicles and walked off the interstate altogether"; "the stretch of I-95 where people got stranded wasn't pre-treated because the storm started with rain." https://t.co/zbHdD7llCN h/t @gmoomaw pic.twitter.com/Fmk5Pz7yA7— Blue Virginia (@bluevirginia) January 4, 2022
Who will get the blame for this major f**k up?
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Traffic on I-95 came to a standstill Monday between Ruther Glen, Virginia, in Caroline County and exit 152 in Dumfries, Prince William County, the Virginia Department of Transportation (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, the agency's Fredericksburg District engineer.
A combination of nearly a foot of snow and traffic collisions brought the stretch of highway to a standstill.
"I've never seen anything like it," Emily Clementson, a truck driver, told NBC Washington.
On Tuesday morning, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine tweeted that he was among those stranded.
"I started my normal 2 hour drive to DC at 1pm yesterday. 19 hours later, I'm still not near the Capitol," Kaine tweeted.
NBC News correspondent Josh Lederman is another motorist stuck about 30 miles south of Washington, D.C. He told MSNBC's Morning Joe that he "doesn't have any food or water. I have gas, but how long is that going to last?"
Local television station 8News said dozens of motorists contacted them in desperation, saying this has been a nightmare with no sign of relief.
"Everybody right now is just sleeping it off," said Marvin Romero, who has been stranded in his car with his two daughters since 3 p.m. Monday." [We've been] waiting for the time when we can finally be free from this."
VDOT has yet to provide a timetable on when the highway congestion will free up. Meanwhile, people are starving and freezing as their car's fuel level dangerous sinks to low.