Nightmare for drivers stuck in wet tar, asphalt along I-295 southbound

A nightmare for drivers after several were stuck in wet asphalt and tar along a stretch of Interstate 295 in the District.

Roads were shut down Wednesday afternoon along southbound Interstate 295 after the incident disabled several vehicles, according to D.C. Police.  

Authorities asked drivers to seek alternative routes and avoid traveling in the southbound area of I-295 between Route 50 and E. Capitol Street Northeast. The road closures caused significant delays. Police worked to remove the vehicles from the asphalt. 

By Thursday morning, all lanes had reopened.

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The Deputy Director for the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) told FOX 5 they are looking into what went wrong. The construction miscue apparently took place Wednesday morning as workers poured the wet tar onto the road. 

DDOT is investigating whether the asphalt was mixed improperly, whether the roads opened too early or if it was the actual application of the asphalt. 

One driver said when he finally got a hold of DDOT he was told to file a claim, and it would take up to 55 days for them to respond back. 

"I think somebody needs to take some responsibility and come out and be proactive and see how they can assist people," the upset commuter said. "I mean, I spent two hours of my time when I should’ve been working to deal with this and nobody showed up." 

Others say someone needs to be held accountable for the destruction. 


"It's nothing I did myself you know? I didn’t want to drive into wet tar," another upset commuter said. "[It's] not like there was a sign that said wet tar, don’t drive. I’ve got to get some sort of reimbursement."

FOX 5 asked DDOT's Deputy Director Sharon Kershbaum what drivers should do if they have damage to their car. 

She said you actually have to reach out to the DC Office of Risk Management to file a claim. 

Previously, the agency said the road would be closed through 5 a.m., but officials now say the roads are expected to reopen Wednesday night. 

Police say there were no injuries reported.

This is a developing story. Check back with FOX 5 for updates.