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Sen. Tim Kaine shares 'miserable' experience being trapped on an icy I-95

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Posted at 4:39 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 16:44:10-05

WASHINGTON — Sen. Tim Kaine spent a "miserable" 27 hours stuck on an icy Interstate 95 early this week, but he still counted himself lucky among the hundreds of drivers trapped on the road during Monday's storm.

"It was pretty tough, but I had it a lot better than most," said Sen. Kaine during a news conference Wednesday. "I had a warm coat, and I had a full tank of gas. There were an awful lot of people around me who were in packed cars - maybe with kids; maybe with seniors; maybe with pets; maybe people with medical conditions - running out of gas along the way."

As News 3 reported earlier this week, the Virginia Department of Transportation chose not to pretreat I-95 because the heavy rain ahead of the snowfall would have washed it away.

"If you pre-treat roads, you can avoid the buildup of the black ice that made the road so treacherous when the sun went down on Monday. I experienced how treacherous it was," said Sen. Kaine. "Normally, if you pre-treat roads during a rainstorm, the rain washes it off. That has some environmental consequences, but it also means it’s not that effective."

Sen. Kaine said problems with I-95 have been going on for years, even dating back to his term as governor. He said his work helped establish more HOV lanes, but the corridor, which runs from the Richmond area up to Washington, is still too congested.

However, Sen. Kaine said the $7.7 billion in federal infrastructure funds headed to Virginia could help address some of the woes that plague I-95.

"We’re going to count on the state’s transportation officials with this additional federal resource to figure out the best way to operate the state’s road system," said Sen. Kaine. "They will have some vastly more resources to do it."

Sen. Kaine said the decision on how to spend the billions headed Virginia's way will depend on the decision made by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, a body appointed by the governor and approved by the General Assembly.

Related: Drivers from Hampton Roads area stranded in I-95 gridlock