Bristol calls in National Guard to help stranded motorists on I-81

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The City of Bristol is requesting help from the Virginia National Guard for people stranded on Interstate 81.

That’s the word from Bristol, Virginia Fire Chief Mike Armstrong who says, after a meeting with the Bristol city manager, the decision was made to ask for help.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management also is involved in getting help to stranded motorists, Armstrong said.

VDOT said a wreck near Exit 19 in Abingdon, Virginia clogged traffic before noon.  Through the day, multiple vehicles became stranded in impassable driving conditions.   When the initial wreck was cleared, VDOT began the process of moving from north to south helping stranded cars and trucks.

By midnight, VDOT was working at mile marker 10 encouraging drivers at the front of the line to get into single line in order to pass traffic.

Until National Guardsmen arrive, Police and Fire crews say they’ll use all-terrain vehicles to check on motorists who’ve been trapped on Interstate 81 Northbound since before noon.

Chief Armstrong says the decision was made to encourage people to stay with their cars instead of taking them to shelters in order to avoid abandoned cars on the highway after the road is re-opened.

News Channel 11’s Jordan Moore saw ATV’s being loaded with bottled water to take to people on the interstate.

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