Drivers in Virginia were stranded in their vehicles overnight as authorities worked to reopen an icy stretch of Interstate 95 closed after a storm blanketed the U.S. region in snow a day earlier, officials said on Tuesday (January 4).
I-95, a major north-south thoroughfare, was shut down in both directions near Fredricksburg, about 55 miles (89 km), the Virginia Department of Transportation said.
“Our crews are actively working to get everyone off 95. Plans are underway to guide vehicles currently stopped on the interstate to nearby interchanges, where they can access alternate routes,” the agency wrote said in a Twitter message.
The standstill began on Monday as more than a foot (30 cm) of snow fell in parts of the U.S. Southeast and mid-Atlantic regions, causing multiple crashes and spin-outs, local media reported. The highway paralysis continued as temperatures dropped below freezing overnight.
State and local emergency personnel worked through the night to clear downed trees, assist disabled vehicles and reroute drivers, Governor Ralph Northam said on Tuesday.
Social media was flooded with posts from desperate drivers trapped for hours in their cars in freezing weather.
The fast-moving storm forced the closure of federal offices and schools, grounded airplanes and knocked out electrical power for thousands of residents.