After being trapped in their cars for more than 27 hours, drivers including Sen. Tim Kaine were eventually freed from icy Virginia I-95 on Tuesday night, Jan. 4.
Hurricane Frida earlier dumped more than a foot of snow and shut down 55 miles of vital highways.
Engineer Marcie Parker of the Transportation Department said the agency expected to finish clearing the interstate by Tuesday night, Jan. 4, and that it would reopen for rush hour on Wednesday morning, Jan. 5.
“UPDATE: No one stranded on I-95. Fewer than 20 vehicles remained off the interstate before the plowed trains passed to clear ice from the travel lanes,” the State Department of Transport tweeted.
In his tweet early Tuesday, Kaine said, “I started my normal 2 hour drive to DC at 1pm yesterday. 19 hours later, I’m still not near the Capitol.”
“I’m frustrated, but not in serious trouble,” he later reassured his followers.
Kaine was released from the position he had been in for 27 hours without food or drink on Tuesday afternoon. When the road cleared, the senator had 150 miles in his tank and was only 40 miles distant.
Jim DeFede, who had been trapped on I-95 for 24 hours just south of Quantico, described it as “a complete parking lot” Tuesday morning, Jan. 4. He got increasingly enraged that his distress had gone unnoticed and that paramedics had not come to his aid.
Dozens of others stranded on the highway complained of hunger and cold. They expressed dismay that the National Guard had not been dispatched to assist them.
Angry visitors labeled Ralph Northam an “embarrassment of a governor” for not deploying the National Guard on Tuesday, Jan. 4.
However, Northam claimed he had activated the Guard Force but that deploying them would not be an instant solution to the problem.
“Remember that our guard members have day jobs. In fact, as you all remember last January 6, we sent the National Guard to help at the Capitol after the insurrection, but it was the next day before they were able to arrive,” the governor said according to Daily Mail.
“Sunlight is expected to help @VaDOT clear the road,” Northam later wrote in his tweet.
After the six-car incident at Stafford on Monday, Jan. 3, heavy snow began falling between Dumfries Road, about an hour from Washington, DC, and Carmel Cathedral, only eight miles from the Capitol. Other vehicles lost control and obstructed lanes in both directions of I-95 due to the event, which set off a chain reaction.