Drivers Upset Over WV Turnpike Traffic Jam

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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Drivers hoping to head down the West Virginia Turnpike Saturday morning were asked to turn around instead.

Workers at the toll plaza in Sharon warned drivers that not making a u-turn could mean being stuck in traffic for hours.

Saturday afternoon, the official call was made to shutdown the turnpike from Charleston to Beckley.

The traffic jam on the highway began Friday night when several tractor trailers jack-knifed, making it impossible for workers to clear the roads.

Traci Leep, her husband and two children set off from Cross Lanes headed to Georgia on Friday. They came to a dead stop on turnpike. They were able to get off an exit to get a bite to eat, but when they got back on the highway they were stuck in traffic again. The family spent the night in their car, just like hundreds of others stuck on the turnpike.

"A lot of people helped each other, pushed each other out of the snow banks, sharing food, sharing water," said Leep. "People were getting water bottles and filling them with snow to have something to drink."

Spending the night on the road and turning to desperate measures isn't how the Leep family expected their road trip to be.

"I'm very disappointed that we could not get roadside service from national guard, DOT, somebody to get to us and help these people who had children sleeping in their cars," Leep said.

After 18 hours, the Leep's finally got moving. When they made it through the final turnpike toll booth, they didn't have to pay.

Robert Hinkle spent the night in his car too, but decided to make the 8-mile trek to his Mossy home after spending 14 hours on the turnpike.

"I don't know where our tax money is going from all the tolls," said Hinkle.

Even after his freezing walk home, Hinkle still has some beef with turnpike officials.

"I'm still pretty ticked off but that's good because I've got a lot of snow to shovel."

National Guard Members have been working to clear parts of I-64 and I-77. They've also been supplying food and water to drivers who have been stuck in traffic.



 
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