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I-85 back open after trees cleared; VDOT warns drivers to avoid interstate

I85TreeDown.jpg
Posted at 5:45 PM, Feb 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-14 18:56:16-05

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. -- Interstate 85 in Brunswick and Dinwiddie counties is back open as of 10:40 a.m. Sunday after downed power lines and falling trees closed another stretch of the interstate early Sunday morning.

However, VDOT officials warned drivers to avoid the I-85 corridor because of the potential for more trees to fall.

Earlier Sunday all northbound and southbound lanes were closed between Route 460 and Route 1.

"Drivers should use alternate routes until further notice," VDOT officials warned. "Expect delays."

Additionally, a wreck involving a tractor-trailer earlier Saturday afternoon closed I-85 north in Dinwiddie County near DeWitt for nearly eight hours.

The crash was cleared as of just before 9 p.m., but officials said that all travel lanes remained blocked by trees and power lines.

"Continue to use alternate routes until further notice," officials warned.

Officials said all lanes had reopened by around 4 a.m.

The crash happened as an ice storm warning is in effect for much of the area through Sunday at 10 a.m.

Freezing rain is liquid rain that turns to ice on trees, power lines, and untreated surfaces.

VDOT officials previously said crews are working to tackle icy conditions and treat slick spots with salt to melt icy patches and sand to improve traction, but officials warned that while "pavement may be bare in many areas, conditions could be dangerous until temperatures rise and roads dry."

“We are still urging drivers to stay home today,” VDOT Richmond District Maintenance Engineer Sean Nelson said. “Conditions may look favorable, but ice can be invisible at times and our crews need time and space to address slick roads.”

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