Roads beginning to clear after 36 hours of work by West Virginia crews
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- After more than 36 hours of snow and hard work, West Virginia is beginning to see a light at the end of the snowstorm.
The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management hosted a briefing with the Division of Highways, the National Guard and WV VOAD to provide updates on the Saturday evening conditions across the state.
DOH spokesperson Brent Walker says pavement can be seen on most of the interstates. On I-64, Walker says both lanes, from Kentucky to Charleston and beyond, have been treated.
Walker reported that I-77 in the Edens Fork Exit area reopened about 12:45 p.m. on Saturday. This was one of the biggest challenges across the state. Walker says DOH worked with the National Guard and West Virginia State Police after 150-200 tractor trailers became stuck in the area. They also worked to retrieve anyone in that area that was stranded in a passenger vehicle.
Walker says I-79 saw normal snow storm challenges. The West Virginia DOH had extra help from the Pennsylvania DOT. PennDOT came down and plowed from the Bridgeport area and north of there.
DOH continues to urge drivers to stay off the roadways as they continue to clear roads Saturday evening. Walker says if they can get an open roadway throughout the night, then more areas will be in better shape for Sunday.
Because interstates and main roadways are beginning to clear, DOH has started to move some crews to the secondary roadways.
Major General James Hoyer with the West Virginia National Guard says 140 soldiers and airmen were mobilized and are out supporting 18 different counties. They are broken into community assessment teams of 4 to 5 guardsmen.
General Hoyer says the National Guard spent most of Friday night assisting along I-77 from 9:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. on Saturday. Crews helped remove over 70 vehicles from I-64 and I-77.
Jenny Gannaway with the West Virginia VOAD says they have been coordinating with the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Council of Churches to set up shelters and warming stations across the state.
Gannaway says there are currently 15 warming stations open and two shelters open. They are also on stand-by to assist if there are any roof collapses from the heavy snow.
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