Authorities shut down Interstate 64 in southern Kentucky for hours on Thursday as a winter storm battered the region, and a massive pile-up of vehicles remained stranded in the roadway.
As the cold blast hit in the afternoon, phone calls were sent to police from Montgomery County in the eastern part of Kentucky (not to be confused with the state); citizens reported having "off the road" vehicles on the road there.
Winters in Kentucky are brutal. There are many iced-over roads that drivers have to worry about when it snows.
Roads are closed due to hazardous conditions, but this leads to many people being stranded in the winter, with no place to go.
At approximately 12:54 p.m., I-64 was closed at the mouth of the exit between roads 101 and 110 "due to at least 50-75 cars damaged or otherwise inoperable," the police arrived on the scene to report.
Lanes opened at about 5:30 p.m. and westbound lanes at about 8:35 p.m. — seven hours after the highway was initially closed.
About 12:25 p.m. Friday, officials said roadways were congested, and officers distributed water and supplies to those in need.
He advised motorists to avoid roadways due to multiple wrecks in the area.
In a tweet, the Kentucky State Police said they closed Interstate 64 at mile marker 179 due to the tractor-trailer jack-knifed. Other routes in the area are solid ice.
The intense chaos that occurred in Kentucky due to the I-95 shutdown in Virginia on Monday left hundreds of thousands of drivers stuck in traffic. Until close to 30 hours after the accident, traffic on the interstate remained closed.
In the wake of the extreme weather and icy temperatures, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state emergency on Thursday. He ordered Kentucky National Guard personnel assistance to assist in snow clearing and transportation advocacy.
The National Weather Service announced three to nine inches of snowfall in the state, with Lexington reporting 9.9 inches of snow.