Record Snow in Connecticut Causes Havoc on I-95

January 12, 2011

*The northbound stretch of I-95 in Westport was shut down Wednesday morning by snow-related crashes for nearly six hours, leading some motorists to turn around and drive southhound in the northbound roadway in order to avoid delays -- and leaving dozens of truck drivers stranded and unable to use an alternate route.

A collision involving tractor-trailer trucks between Exits 23 and 24 in Fairfield just before 7 a.m. added to the traffic mess, which began after another crash between Exits 19 and 21 about an hour earlier.

police troopers on the highway assisted vehicles off at exit 18, the Sherwood Island Connector exit.

Many tractor trailer drivers parked in the left and center lanes before exit 19, waiting for Deptartment of Transportation crews to clear the roadway.

Troopers were then stationed along the highway leading up to the closure to prevent turnarounds and assist drivers.

Dozens of drivers at 7:30 a.m. on Interstate-95 northbound decided to turn around and head back southbound. These motorists, at a standstill near exit 18 in a single-file line of traffic, decided it would be best -- much better than idling in traffic -- to turn around and drive in the wrong direction. One after another, they left like lemmings, in search of the nearest exit.

State police said that it is illegal to exit the highway in that manner even though the road was closed ahead, and drivers were given tickets at the bottom of the ramp.

The situation was dangerous, as cars ended up facing each other going different directions, turned facing across two lanes sideways or backing up into oncoming traffic.

Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney urges all drivers to use caution when driving in the snow. Make sure that you have supplies in your car in case you get stuck including: water, small shovel, scraper, and cell phone.

*Excerpts from article "'Psychotic' drivers, wild weather force shut down of Interstate 95 near Westport" by Brittany Lyte And Tom Cleary, Staff Writers Connecticut Post.

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