I-95 Shutdown: Roads in Virginia unable to be pre-treated before snowstorm

Virginia transportation officials say the reason it took so long to clear the roads after Monday's snowstorm, including nearly 50 miles of Interstate 95 that were backed up for more than 18 hours, was an inability to pre-treat them before the winter weather hit.

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Officials say the good news is no one was injured on I-95 during the shutdown. However, traffic was at a standstill from midnight on Tuesday through the evening.

The incident began with a major crash involving several tractor-trailers Monday afternoon. Traffic along a 50-mile stretch of I-95 came to a standstill shortly after, centered around the Fredericksburg area.

VDOT says as temperatures fell Monday night, the snow turned to ice, leading officials to shut down the interstate. They also say plowing was difficult because of the rate of accumulation. 

READ MORE: I-95 reopens in Virginia after drivers stranded for 18+ hours following snowstorm

FOX 5 spoke to a family from Rhode Island traveling down to Florida who say they made it as far as Woodbridge before checking into a hotel.

"This morning, we left at about 9:30, and I think we made it seven miles up Route 1 and that took us until about 2 or 2:30 this afternoon, and we were lucky enough to find a hotel room and here we are for the night," the family says.

Hundreds of drivers were stranded, a majority of them spending Monday night in their vehicles. FOX 5 spoke to a first-aid expert who says it's important to have a car emergency kit for situations like these.

"At a minimum, you should have bandages, dressings, antibiotic ointments, alcohol wipes, emergency blankets, mittens, gloves, extra water and also that portable phone charger should be charged up," says Brad Greer.


I-95 is back open as of Tuesday night and the I-95 and I-395 express lanes going northbound are open. They will remain northbound through the night and Wednesday morning.