UPDATE: I-77 South reopened in Bland Co. - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: I-77 South reopened in Bland Co.

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Exit 9 area in Princeton (photo from Robert Youther) Exit 9 area in Princeton (photo from Robert Youther)
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BLAND COUNTY (WVVA) - VDOT says Interstate 77 has been cleared in Bland County and traffic has begun moving.

Full update from VDOT: Interstate 77 southbound update:  I-77 southbound between the West Virginia line and the Big Walker Mountain Tunnel has been cleared and traffic has been released at the East River Mt. Tunnel and is now flowing south out of West Virginia. The queue in WV will take time to clear but is in motion.

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PRINCETON (WVVA) - Interstate 77 southbound remains closed in Bland County, which led to traffic congestion in Princeton as motorists were detoured off the interstate at Exit 9.

The northbound lane of I-77 was re-opened around 4 a.m.

Motorists were urged to avoid unnecessary travel on I-77 Friday morning as crews worked to re-open the roadway.

Motorists should also expect lengthy delays in the Exit 9 area of Princeton.

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VDOT offered the following update at 5:42 a.m. on I-77:

I-77 Northbound is open in Bland County and traffic is no longer backed up from an accident that was cleared around 4 a.m.

Southbound I-77 remains blocked at mile marker 56 due to a tractor-trailer incident. The wrecker service and plow trucks are working together to remove the tractor trailers that are no able to get up the mountain. It is anticipated the lanes will be open around daybreak. Traffic is backed up approximately six miles.
 
WVDOT is forcing southbound I-77 travelers to take Exit 9 at Princeton. Following is their release from 7:19 a.m. :
 
I-77 South remains shutdown in Virginia. The WV Parkways Authority is forcing all southbound traffic to exit the Interstate at the Princeton Exit (Exit 9). Turnpike and DOH crews will be monitoring traffic during the morning commute. If any back ups should occur, they may start diverting traffic at the Camp Creek Exit (Exit 20).

Drivers are encouraged to delay their travels until VDOT is able to reopen I-77.

Overnight, crews were able to turn around travelers and tractor trailers that were caught in traffic on the WV side.
 
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BLAND, VA—  Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) are working to re-open all travel lanes on I-77 in Bland County. Heavy snow, downed trees, and disabled vehicles are making travel conditions difficult and delayed. Northbound traffic on I-77 is slowing moving through at this time and efforts will continue through the night to completely re-open all of the southbound travel lanes. State police has extended shifts and called additional troopers to respond to the numerous crashes and disabled vehicles within the region.
 
Drivers are asked to avoid traveling on I-77 South into Virginia.

DOT Emergency Operations is sending WVDOH crews to start turning traffic around and to inform motorists stalled in traffic of the situation. Toll booths operators are also informing motorists of the closure.

 
Two shelters in Bland County are open to travelers: One off mile marker 52 at the Bland Rescue squad building, and another in Rocky Gap at the Methodist church.
 
 
 
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) continues efforts to clear routes in southwestern Virginia.
Be alert to the following conditions:
- Interstate 81 in Wythe County and the I-77 corridor in Virginia is snow-covered and extremely hazardous. Multiple incidents have traffic stopped or slowed in many areas. Postpone unnecessary travel in this area.
- Interstate 81 in Washington and Smyth counties has snow and ice patches.
- Roads in Grayson, Wythe and Smyth counties are snow-covered and hazardous with many instances of drifting snow, making snow chains a necessity for travel, if travel cannot be postponed.
- Primary routes in Buchanan, Russell, Tazewell, Scott, Dickenson, Wise and Bland counties are snow-covered and extremely slick. Secondary routes are extremely hazardous and snow chains are needed in these areas.
- The majority of primary and secondary roads in Washington County are snow-covered and slick.
- Snow and ice patches are reported on the majority of primary roads in Lee County. Secondary routes are snow-covered and slick.

Crews first begin clearing interstates, primary roads and major secondary roads that connect localities, fire stations, employment hubs, military posts, schools, hospitals and other important public facilities. Secondary roads and subdivision streets will be treated if multiday storms hit the commonwealth, but crews will focus efforts on those roads that carry the most traffic.

Get the latest road conditions at www.511virginia.org or by downloading the 511 mobile app.

View the entire list of roads closed due to the storm, sortable by county, at
http://www.511virginia.org/mobile/?menu_id=conditions.

Report downed trees and hazardous road conditions to 1-800-367-ROAD (1-800-367-7623).
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