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'It was a mess' | State leaders say new infrastructure bill funding creates promise for I-95 improvements

Following the over 24 hour standstill on I-95 from Monday into Tuesday, state leaders want to see improvements to prevent this from happening again.

NORFOLK, Va. — Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) was stuck on I-95, along with hundreds of drivers, for about 27 hours as he tried traveling from Richmond to D.C. Monday afternoon.

"Some of it was miserable, but other parts were nice because it showed us what we needed and people really stepped up to come together," Kaine said in a press conference on Wednesday morning.

The 40-mile bumper-to-bumper gridlock may have finally cleared up from the help of emergency crews, but it's a mess hundreds of drivers won't forget.

Virginia residents and visitors driving through the area who experienced this problem are calling out state leaders like Governor Ralph Northam on a lack of response after asking for help from the National Guard.

Governor Northam said he had the National Guard on standby, but told reporters Tuesday that he would not deploy any members. 

RELATED: Why wasn't the Virginia National Guard called in for the I-95 disaster?

"We have the resources to be able to get to where we need to. It's just because of the storm, the ice, the accidents, it's been very difficult getting to individuals who need our help," said Northam on Tuesday. "I am sorry for people that are stranded. We knew this storm was coming. We advised people to stay off the roads and when we have these warnings people need to heed them to keep themselves safe."

On Wednesday, 13News Now asked Governor Northam and his team for further comment regarding the aftermath of the backup, but they declined to speak with us.

 Kaine described I-95 as the backbone to Virginia's highway system in his press conference. He says just like any structure, it needs support, which the state plans to get through the Biden Administration's bi-partisan infrastructure bill.

"On I-95 now, you recognize those HOV lanes are extending all the way to Fredricksburg," Kaine said. "We still have a lot of fill-in to do. That will release congestion."

Virginia is set to receive $7.7 billion on the federal level over the next five years to restore roads and bridges. Kaine says he hopes the Commonwealth Transportation Board will consider significant improvements to I-95.

"What they're [new state leaders] going to have to do is strategize what happened on the maintenance side, because a lot of the Commonwealth Transportation Board dollars go into rehab, repairs, and new construction," Kaine said.

Virginia Department of Transportation leaders say their emergency response efforts are ongoing, but crews cleared every disabled vehicle from the highway as of Tuesday evening.

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