UPDATE: All lanes of I-64 near Teays Valley are back open

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UPDATE 8/17/16 @ 10:03 p.m.
PUTNAM COUNTY, W. Va. (WSAZ) -- All lanes of I-64 in Putnam County near the Teays Valley exit are now back open.

Dispatchers said that crews have finished repairing the damaged roadway and that no lanes are shut down at this time.

The roadway was damaged after a deadly chain reaction crash involving two tractor-trailers Tuesday afternoon. It happened near the 40.5-mile marker in the Teays Valley area.

UPDATE 8/17/16 @ 7:00 p.m.
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- After a deadly chain reaction crash caused massive traffic delays along I-64 in Putnam County, a West Virginia Division of Highways (DOH) spokesperson told WSAZ how they plan to prevent this from happening again.

The crash Tuesday afternoon sent eight people to the hospital and left one driver dead.

Crews battled a fire along the interstate for several hours and the accident left drivers stranded for miles. Some spent more than eight hours in a standstill.

"When you have both sides of the interstate that need to be shut down, it's a very serious situation and it is a lot for us to manage," said Carrie Jones, spokesperson for the DOH. "Any accident that we have, we have to think of the victims first."

Jones says the situation became overwhelming during rush hour. She says the chaos after a big accident is not unique to the area.

"It's a struggle for us across the state," said Jones. "There really aren't any solid detour routes that can handle the amount of traffic that the interstate can."

Crews tried to get drivers out of the standstill, Jones says, but then the detours got backed up. She says the DOH did its best in a stressful situation, but can always make improvements when responding to emergencies.

Jones says they will try to improve communication between the DOH and other agencies like law enforcement. They will also try to improve communication with the public.

"It's just something that I wish there was a fix for all of that but it's just something that we deal with with every accident," said Jones. "We certainly learn from every incident of what we can do better, whether that's diverting people off a lot sooner than we did or possibly putting messaging boards farther back. You know, we do use social media a lot."

Jones says they will also try to prevent accidents from happening in the first place, especially in an area where the detours aren't reliable. She says that is why emergency responders spent a lengthy amount of time at the scene, making sure the investigation was thorough.

"Not only does that help law enforcement, it tells the DOH, 'Is there something wrong with the road? Is there something that can be done to prevent this?' So we have to make sure we're investigating that properly," said Jones. "We have to do traffic control and then we also have to do what we're doing today, clean up."

Crews were repaving the road near the St. Albans exit around mile-marker 41.5 Wednesday. One driver told us she was sitting in traffic for at least 30 minutes.

It was even more frustrating for drivers on Tuesday. Dave Allen says he sat in traffic for 8.5 hours.

"People panicked and you had people running out of gas and cars overheating and people left their cars just sitting there," said Allen. "That created a lot of the problem because emergency vehicles couldn't get where they needed to go because they were facing people going, in many cases, in the wrong direction."

Allen says he appreciates the hard work of first responders and the DOH. He says if drivers would have stayed calm, the situation may have had a better outcome.

While Allen says he thinks the crews did the best they could, he does wish they had a better plan in place to prevent a traffic backup.

Despite the frustration, Allen and other drivers we talked to said people need to remember that the reason for the traffic was a tragic one.

"A little bit of inconvenience is nothing compared to what those families are going through today and although it was frustrating and I never ever want to do it again, I still went home at the end of the day," said Allen.

DOH crews tell WSAZ they hope to have the I-64 repaving done Wednesday evening.

Jones says they will have even more conversations about how to improve response to traffic issues when the cause of the accident is determined.

UPDATE 8/17/16 @ 12:05 a.m.
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A deadly chain reaction crash involving two tractor-trailers Tuesday afternoon is still causing some traffic delays in Putnam County, a WSAZ crew on the scene reports.

West Virginia Division of Highways workers are temporarily closing individual lanes Wednesday morning and early afternoon for road repairs. It is happening near the 40.5-mile marker where the crash occurred about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Crews have the left lane closed near the St. Albans exit around mile-marker 41.5. They say they're not sure when the work will be done.

At this time, diesel fuel is still being cleaned up and the road is being repaved where the fire damaged the surface. That process will be repeated later on the right lane.

The total area of the repairs is about 264 feet long and 38 feet wide.

There is no information on how long those repairs will take.

Jeffrey Bidlack, 42, of Continental, Ohio, died in the accident.

The names of others involved are not being released at this time.

Interstate 64 was closed about 12 hours while crews were on the scene.



UPDATE 8/17/16 @ 7 a.m.
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Putnam County Sheriff's Office has released the name of the victim who died in the chain reaction crash Tuesday afternoon.

Jeffrey Biplack, 42, of Continental, Ohio, died in the accident.

The names of others involved are not being released at this time.

Interstate 64 was closed about 12 hours while crews were on the scene. The road reopened about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Beginning at 9 a.m., the West Virginia Division of Highways will close one lane at a time on I-64 eastbound to fix sections of the road damaged by the fire that happened from the crash. There is no information on how long those repairs will take.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 8/17/16 @ 3:45 a.m.
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- All lanes of I-64 are now open to traffic following a deadly chain reaction crash on Tuesday afternoon.

The interstate reopened just before 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, after causing traffic problems throughout the night and early morning.

While I-64 is now open, further delays are expected after the morning rush hour traffic.

Beginning at 9 a.m., the West Virginia Division of Highways will close one lane at a time on I-64 eastbound to fix sections of the road damaged by the fire that happened because of the crash that killed one driver. There is no information on how long those repairs will take.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 8/17/16 @ 12:53 a.m.
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- All lanes of I-64 are expected to be clear by 4 a.m. Wednesday in the area where a fatal accident happened Tuesday afternoon in Scott Depot.

After Wednesday's morning rush hour, the West Virginia Division of Highways plans to close one lane at a time eastbound on I-64 to fix sections of the road damaged by the fire that happened because of the crash.

That work will start at 9 a.m. and drivers can expect congestion in the area of exit 40 (Scott Depot) during these repairs.

The driver of a truck that caught on fire was killed in the accident.

According to the Putnam County Sheriff's Department, the driver of a tractor trailer owned by Butler Transportation was traveling west on I-64 near mile marker 40.5 when it crossed the center median and struck another tractor trailer traveling in the Eastbound lane.

This caused a chain reaction of collisions, including four tractor trailers and two cars.

The trailer that crossed the median separated from the tractor and landed on the hillside in the gorge beneath the interstate near Rocky Step Road.

A total of eight people were transported to nearby hospitals.

The cause of the accident is unknown right now, and is being investigated by the Putnam County Sheriff's Department.

UPDATE 8/16/16 @ 11:37 p.m.
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It may still be "a few hours" for drivers stranded on I-64 in Putnam County.

It all started when a tractor trailer crossed the median and hit another tractor trailer head-on near the 40 mile marker around 3:30 Tuesday afternoon.

Some drivers have run out of gas, others have no food or water. Several people have been spotted selling soda to the stranded motorists.

Cleaning crews are at the scene of the crash right now, but they say it could still be a while before traffic starts moving freely in this area again.

One person was killed in the crash. A total of eight were transported to nearby hospitals.



UPDATE 8/16/16 @ 9:02 p.m.
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A reconstruction team is on scene investigating exactly how a crash that happened Tuesday afternoon on I-64 occurred.

The crash happened around 4 p.m. near mile marker 40 on the Westbound side.

According to Putnam County EMS, once the reconstruction team finishes working, the cleanup crews will come in. They say they're estimating that it will be close to midnight before the eastbound lanes can open.

The westbound lanes are also closed right now because a fire truck is blocking the area. Fire crews are still putting water on one of the tractor trailers that erupted in flames during the crash.



UPDATE 8/16/16 @ 8:06 p.m.
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- At least one person has died after a crash on I-64 Westbound near mile marker 40 on Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Putnam County Sheriff's Department, a tractor trailer owned by Butler Transportation was traveling Westbound on I-64 near mile marker 40.5 when it crossed the center median and struck another tractor trailer traveling in the Eastbound lane.

This caused a chain reaction of collisions, including four tractor trailers and two cars.

The trailer that crossed the median separated from the tractor and landed on the hillside in the gorge beneath the interstate near Rocky Step Road.

A total of eight people were transported to nearby hospitals.

The cause of the accident is unknown right now, and is being investigated by the Putnam County Sheriff's Department.


UPDATE 8/16/16 @ 7:14 p.m.
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- More problems are happening as a result of the fatal accident on I-64 near the Scott Depot exit in Putnam County.

One driver told WSAZ he's been sitting in traffic for four hours. He captured video of trucks going the wrong way off the interstate ramp to get out of the traffic mess.

According to Putnam County Office of Emergency Services Director, Frank Chapman, members of law enforcement have been notified to help with the situation.

The driver also tells WSAZ that he's noticed several people outside of their vehicles on the interstate and that some have run out of gasoline. Chapman says they've notified the Department of Highways so that courtesy patrol can come help with vehicles that have broken down or overheated as a result of sitting in traffic.

One person died in the five vehicle crash that ended in fire. One WB lane is open on I-64. There is no word right now when the EB lanes will reopen.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and the WSAZ App for updates on the situation.


UPDATE 8/16/16 @ 6:48 p.m.
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- One westbound lane is open right now in Putnam County following a fatal accident there Tuesday afternoon.

The Eastbound side remains closed until further notice.

According to Putnam EMS, five people have been transported to the hospital with various injuries after the crash.

The crash happened near exit 40 in Scott Depot when a semi truck in a westbound lane crossed over the median and hit another semi head-on causing a fire.

One person died in the crash. The extent of the other injuries are not known at this time.

UPDATE 8/16/16 @ 6:01 p.m.
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- At least one person has died and another is in critical condition after a crash on I-64 in Putnam County Tuesday evening.

The person who died was the driver of a truck that burst into flames. Crews are still fighting to put out that fire.

According to the Department of Transportation, the crash happened when a semi truck in a Westbound lane crossed over the median and hit another semi head-on.

People who witnessed the crash described it looking like a ball of fire when the trucks collided.

The DOT says the cleanup of the crash, which involved at least four semis and two passenger cars, will take over four hours.

The DOT will try to open a Westbound lane within the next hour.



UPDATE 8/16/16 @ 5:34 p.m.
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Department of Transportation tells WSAZ that one person has died as a result of a crash on I-64 in Putnam County Tuesday evening.

The person was the driver of a semi-truck that caught fire and was trapped inside.

The DOT says they will attempt to open one Westbound lane within the hour.

The Eastbound side remains closed until further notice.

UPDATE 8/16/16 @ 4:52 p.m.
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Crews are still working at the scene of a crash on I-64 Westbound in Putnam County.

The crash happened between the 40 and 41 mile marker.

According to Putnam County EMS, four semi-trucks were involved. Crews are still working to put out a fire that sparked from one of the trucks.

One of the trucks appears to have flipped over in the median.

In addition, two passenger cars were involved.

According to Putnam EMS, five people have been transported to the hospital with various injuries.

The Westbound lanes of I-64 are shut down right now.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and wsaz.com for the latest on this developing story.


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ORIGINAL STORY 8/16/16 @ 3:36 p.m.
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Crews are on scene of an accident on I-64 between the 40 and 41 mile marker.

The crash involved multiple semi-trucks and at least one car.

Injuries have been reported at the scene.

Crews from Putnam and Kanawha Counties are responding.

According to West Virginia 511, two Westbound lanes are closed there.

Keep clicking WSAZ Mobile and wsaz.com for the latest on this developing story.




 
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