#parent | #kids | ‘No food and no hope’: Drivers stranded on I-95 in Va. are cold, hungry and asking for help

Driving on Interstate 95 has been a nightmare for Virginia drivers Tuesday morning following a major storm. Here are what some WTOP listeners are writing about their experiences.

Have you or someone you know been stuck on I-95? Tell WTOP about your experiences.

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Driving on Interstate 95 has been a nightmare for Virginia drivers Tuesday morning following Monday’s major storm. Many have been trapped and asking for help.

It’s an unprecedented disaster for many.

“I’ve got 3 kids (and) we have been stuck since yesterday. Freezing nights and I have a baby on board. No food and no hope please help us letting the authorities know,” Paola Reynoso emailed WTOP.

Another said they’re missing their father’s funeral due to the disaster on I-95:

“We left Gaithersburg at 4:50am. To attend my father’s Funeral in Hampton, Va. Which is usually a 3 1/2 hour drive
We have been in traffic on 95 for over 2 1/2 hours
Doesn’t look like we are going to make it. The Funeral starts at 11am.
I tried to be there Daddy to say Goodbye
Love you”

Some listeners said they are trying to get to needed medical appointments and have been trapped for almost a day:

“Been stuck on i95n near exit 118 in VA since 11:30 am yesterday with our 6 month old daughter. There is no sign of movement. We need to take my dad to an essential surgery in MA by 7:30 am tomorrow. I hope we can come out of this soon and go home safely,” Samia Khan wrote.

Others are cold: “Haven’t moved since 3 pm … it’s 16 degrees. This is insane.”

“We need help, been out here for 18 hours and no help. This is ridiculous, please use your voice to get us help,” another wrote.

Even Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine has been stuck.

“I started my normal 2 hour drive to DC at 1pm yesterday. 19 hours later, I’m still not near the Capitol. My office is in touch with @VaDOT to see how we can help other Virginians in this situation. Please stay safe everyone.”

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Kaine, who said he’s been in the car about 21 hours, told WTOP stranded drivers found some camaraderie while stuck, but he had two things that helped him: a heavy coat and a full tank of gas.

“It was really, really cold last night,” Kaine said.

Gas is an issue for many, the senator said.

“The problem is, a lot of people, when you’re stuck that long between, you know five miles from an interchange, and the traffic isn’t moving, folks are running out of gas,” Kaine said.

“We’re so packed on the interstate that it’s really hard to get an emergency vehicle and to get a car that’s disabled. And so then that becomes a block for others.”

Kaine said he doesn’t want to second guess Gov. Ralph Northam’s decision to not bring in the National Guard, though they’re on standby.

Northam “had their reasons,” Kaine said. “And the governor, when he heard that I was out here, has reached out. I said, ‘You know just I don’t want anything I just want to be treated like everybody else.’”

Kaine said it was a miserable experience and a commute for the record books.

WTOP Traffic Reporter Jack Taylor said there’s some movement on I-95 North near Quantico. He also said supplies are being brought to some stranded drivers.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein said that vehicles stranded for hours on Southbound I-95 are getting off exit 152 at Route 234/Dumfries Rd. shortly before 9 a.m.

“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. In addition to clearing the trucks, we are treating for snow and several inches of ice that has accumulated around them to ensure that when the lanes reopen, motorists can safely proceed to their destination,” Marcie Parker, P.E. VDOT Fredericksburg District Engineer said in a statement.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said officials are “doing everything that we can.”

Virginia officials are still asking people to stay off the roads.

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