Hundreds of drivers were stranded overnight along Interstate 95 in Virginia after a multi-vehicle crash shut down the interstate amid snow and freezing temperatures.
Drivers were seen Tuesday in the morning hours getting out of their cars, some walking dogs along the side of the road. FOX5 DC shared a report of a driver melting snow in a bowl inside the vehicle to provide water to their pet as provisions began to run scarce.
Drivers in both directions were stuck on I-95 in the Fredericksburg area for more than 15 hours after a wreck shut down more than 40 miles of the roadway.
No one was injured in the tractor-trailer collision Monday afternoon that brought traffic to a standstill, but it became impossible to move as the snow accumulated. Hours passed and then night fell.
The Virginia Department of Transportation said around daybreak Tuesday that its crews would start taking people off the roadway wherever they could be reached. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam also promised help was on the way.
A stranded driver is seen walking a dog alongside I-95 in Virginia Tuesday, ( )
By 9 a.m., a single lane of traffic was creeping forward between many stalled trucks and cars in one direction.
Crews were working to tow the stopped trucks and to remove snow and ice while guiding stranded motorists to the nearest exits, transportation officials said.
The governor said he could not provide an estimate for when I-95 would reopen or how many vehicles remained stranded. Transportation Department engineer Marcie Parker said the agency expected to finish clearing the interstate by Tuesday night and that it should be open for the Wednesday morning rush hour.
Earlier, people were posting increasingly desperate messages on social media, saying they're running out of food, fuel and water in temperatures below freezing.
Some drivers expressed their frustrations with FOX5 DC explaining that they had feelings of hopelessness.
"I've been stuck here since yesterday. I've been stuck here all night. I had to walk 20 minutes to find supplies. Pretty much I can't feel my toes. Right now they're giving out water to people, but that's not enough, we're just waiting," one driver said.
"I've been here since 6 p.m. yesterday. I have a tractor-trailer, and I'm running out of gas. It's freezing out here, and it's a total standstill," another driver said.
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, who lives in Richmond, tweeted Tuesday morning 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," he tweeted, along with a photo showing how his car has been boxed in between three tractor-trailers.
Between 7 to 11 inches of snow accumulated in the area during Monday’s blizzard, according to the National Weather Service, and state police had warned people to avoid driving unless absolutely necessary, especially as evening and freezing temperatures set in.
Thousands of accidents and stranded vehicles were reported throughout central and northern Virginia. As of 3:30 p.m. Monday, Virginia State Police said troopers had responded to more than 2,000 calls for service due to treacherous road conditions.
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This developing story was reported from Detroit. FOX 5 DC and The Associated Press contributed.