RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said help is on the way to stranded motorists who have been stuck on a stretch of Interstate 95 in Virginia after snow caused multiple crashes that shut down the highway and created gridlock that lasted through the night.
Northam spoke with FOX 5 Tuesday morning and said the challenge was getting the resources where they needed to be along the highway.
Hundreds – if not thousands – of drivers were stranded along a 50-mile stretch of I-95 after a severe snowstorm swept across the mid-Atlantic Monday. The storm left thousands without power and closed schools across D.C., Maryland and Virginia. A crash involving several tractor trailers Monday triggered the situation.
Northam called it a "perfect storm" when he spoke with FOX 5 and said the overnight freeze hampered the efforts of responders. He said emergency vehicles are utilizing express lanes and urged other drivers to avoid the area.
Northam didn't have an answer when asked by FOX 5's Holly Morris why the interstates were not shut down last night when icy conditions were first recognized saying the focus now was on helping stranded drivers. He said his office will review those decisions at a later date. "We're doing the best we can right now in a very difficult situation," he said. He added that the situation has taken so long to resolve due to the ice and snow accumulations that were left on the roadways.
"I'm sorry for what they've experienced over the night," Northam said. "When everybody wants to get on the road when these things are happening – these situations occur."
Earlier Tuesday, Northam said in a tweet that an emergency message was going to be sent to all stranded drivers connecting them to support.
Elsewhere in the state, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine tweeted that he was stuck in traffic on Interstate 95 along with other drivers for 19 hours overnight after a winter snowstorm struck the D.C. region Monday.
"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 VDOT to see how we can help other Virginians in this situation. Please stay safe everyone," he tweeted.