UPDATE 8:40 p.m.: VDOT has confirmed that I-95 has reopened in eastern and northern Virginia after being shut down for a day and a half from the winter storm.

They say that even though the highway is back open, sections of northbound and southbound I-95 are still listed as being hazardous — which includes into Stafford, Spotsylvania, and Caroline counties.

On Tuesday morning, crews directed travelers stopped on I-95 to the nearest possible interchange between Exit 104 in Caroline County and Exit 152 in Prince William County.

Once all disabled vehicles and tractor-trailers were removed through the nearly 50-mile stretch of highway, snowplows and motor graders made multiple passes to remove the snow and ice from the roadway’s surface. Then, the road was treated with materials to safely reopen the interstate.

UPDATE 6 p.m.: VDOT Fredricksburg’s Twitter page confirms that no one is left stranded on I-95.

They say under 20 vehicles are still needing to be removed before the interstate can be plowed to remove snow and ice from travel lanes.

UPDATE 4:30 pm.: In an update on social media, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine posted on Twitter that, after 27 hours on the road, he has returned to the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

UPDATE: 3:55 p.m.: A large stretch of I-95 in eastern and northern Virginia is still closed.

According to VDOT, they remain in emergency operations with a heavy focus on clearing ice and snow from major routes in the Fredricksburg area, including I-95.

As of this update, VDOT says crews have made substantial progress on Tuesday, directing travelers who have been stopped on I-95 and routing them to the nearest interchange, allowing them to find an alternate route to access their destination.

I-95 remains closed at the following locations:

  • Northbound from Exit 104 (Carmel Church in Caroline County) to Exit 148 (Quantico Marine Corps Base at the Stafford/Prince William county line)
  • Southbound from Exit 152 (Dumfries in Prince William County) to Exit 136 (Route 17 in Stafford)

Crews are continuing to work to clear traffic on I-95 South from Exit 150 to Exit 133. Crews are removing the last of the disabled vehicles and tree debris from this segment of interstate as well.

As sections clear, I-95 is clearing ice and snow.

Once the entire interstate is clear of vehicles, multiple plow trucks and motor graders will make a pass of the entire northbound and segment sections to ensure lanes are safe for travel before reopening.

When I-95 does reopen for travel, VDOT will update 511Virginia.

They say motorists may experience residual delays on Route 1, Route 207 and Route 301 in the Fredricksburg area as travelers find alternate routes.

UPDATE 2:05 p.m.: Hundreds of cars are still stranded on I-95 near Stafford County as part of a 40-mile backup spanning from the Fredericksburg area to Ruther Glen while crews continue cleaning up from Monday’s winter storm.

The interstate was closed around 5:45 a.m. and remains shut down to northbound and southbound traffic. Vehicles are being turned around or redirected onto Route 1.

During an 11:30 a.m. media briefing on Tuesday, the district engineer for VDOT’s Fredericksburg District of VDOT, Marcie Parker, said that most people stuck in the standstill are still with their vehicles.

VDOT says it expects to reopen the interstate by Wednesday, Jan. 5 at the latest after tow trucks have removed disabled vehicles that are blocking the roadway. After the vehicles are removed, crews will be able to clear the roads.

“None of the portion was pretreated because it started as rain, and if they pretreated it would have just washed away and wasted product and blocked traffic,” explained Parker.

Parker says that heavy snowfall rates on Monday resulted in more snow at a faster rate than VDOT anticipated, adding that the agency could not keep up with the snowfall.

According to Parker, VDOT did not think they would need to shut down I-95. They worked through the night and hoped to reopen the roads by the Tuesday morning rush hour, but around 4 a.m., they realized that would not be possible.

She says that some vehicles had four inches of ice underneath.

Virginia State Police reported there are no injuries or deaths related to the traffic jam and no reported crashes during the standstill. They started receiving reports about traffic on I-95 around 8:25 a.m. Monday and then it was a “chain reaction” – cars braking slowed down the vehicles behind them and traffic stopped.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, one of the hundreds of motorists stuck in the I-95 backup, tweeted Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday that he was “frustrated, but not in serious trouble” after leaving on a two-hour trip for D.C. at 1 p.m. on Monday and still being stuck in traffic more than 21 hours later.

UPDATE 9 a.m.: Hundreds of cars are still stranded on I-95 in northern Virginia Tuesday morning — including a car with a Virginia senator inside — after getting caught in Monday’s snowstorm.

After leaving on a two-hour drive to Washington, D.C. Monday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine tweeted shortly before 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday that he is still stuck in Virginia traffic after 19 hours.

The latest update from VDOT’s Fredericksburg District was posted on Twitter at 7:43 a.m. on Tuesday:

Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted posted a tweet shortly after 8:15 a.m., saying, “My team has been working throughout the night alongside VSP, VDOT and VDEM to respond to the situation on I-95. State and local emergency personnel are continuing to clear downed trees, assist disabled vehicles, and re-route drivers.”

According to Northam, an emergency message will be going to all stranded drivers to connect them to support services. Meanwhile, the Commonwealth is working with various localities to open warming shelters as needed.

“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,” Marcie Parker, VDOT’s Fredericksburg District engineer, said in a statement Tuesday.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC/WFXR/NEXSTAR) — Hundreds of cars have been stranded for hours — with some motorists stuck in their vehicles since Monday afternoon — on I-95 while crews clean up from Virginia’s winter storm.

The traffic jam took place near Stafford County, happening along a 50-mile stretch of I-95 after a crash Monday, Jan. 3 involving six tractor-trailers.

Between 7 and 11 inches of snow accumulated in the area during Monday’s blizzard, according to the National Weather Service. Meanwhile, thousands of crashes and stranded vehicles were reported throughout the Commonwealth. 

The tractor-trailer collision Monday afternoon caused no injuries, but brought traffic to a standstill along the U.S. East Coast’s main north-south highway, making it impossible to move as the snow accumulated. Hours passed with hundreds of motorists posting increasingly desperate messages on social media about running out of fuel, food, and water.

Over a dozen people have contacted WFXR’s sister station, WRIC, 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. on . “[We’ve been] waiting for the time when we can finally be free from this.”

As of Tuesday, Jan. 4, the standstill is taking place from Fredericksburg down to Ruther Glen in Caroline County.

“I’m here with my daughter, my other daughter is in the back sleeping, this was totally unexpected,” Romero said. “Thankfully, we had some water. I actually walked around handing water out to people who may need the little I had myself.”

Photo of backup along I-95 near Stafford County as of 6:22 a.m. on Jan. 4, 2022. (Photo: Courtesy VDOT)

Drivers say they have been starving, freezing, and worrying about running out of gas before the traffic is relieved.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) says the winter storm is to blame and crews are “working diligently” to get several disabled trucks off the highway in Stafford and Spotsylvania.

Nina Semesta says she is afraid of running out of essentials.

“Right now, its below freezing. No easy access to gas, food or water and we can’t even exit the highway,” Semesta said.

There was no immediate timetable for clearing the traffic jam or answers for the drivers. VDOT posted a tweet for the stranded drivers on Monday that reinforcements were arriving from other states to help get them moving again.

“Crews will start taking people off at any available interchange to get them,” VDOT tweeted at 5:20 a.m. on Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.