State Troopers, ALDOT Explain Interstate 65 Back-up

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - WHNT NEWS 19 got an aerial view of Interstate 65 one day after the storm. The interstate had looked clear since only the morning hours. Why did I-65 travel get so bad?

A couple of state agencies responded. The answers suggest what happened yesterday was the perfect storm. The snow came in fast and stuck around longer than expected.

The temperature, snow and traffic back-up was one of the worst wintry mixes in Alabama in a long time.

"Let's keep in mind, this thing happened very rapidly. It was on us before we knew it," said Trooper Curtis Summerville.

Trooper Summerville is facing the WHNT NEWS 19 camera.

"We had resources in several counties working traffic crashes, with people who were stuck or in need of assistance. Every trooper was not in this general location even though this might have been the worse hit spot in the state," added Trooper Summerville.

WHNT NEWS 19 wanted to know why some drivers were forced to sit idle on I-65 near Cullman for 10 hours.

"The interstates were shut down because it continued to ice over. Any time we would clear ice off the interstate, it would immediately re-freeze," added Trooper Summerville.

Viewers called the WHNT NEWS 19 newsroom demanding to know why the state did not put out alerts. The Alabama Department of Transportation sent alerts urging drivers to check the state's road conditions website.

"The alerts to the traveling public were out there. The public has to make a conscience decision about whether they need to get out on the roads. That is nothing we can control," said Alabama Department of Transportation Spokeswoman Rebecca White.

"People knew about the delays on I-65. We weren't necessarily shutting it down because, keep in mind, we had no idea to know this would go as long as it did," added Trooper Summerville.

The trooper and an ALDOT spokeswoman told WHNT NEWS 19 Cullman area hotels and restaurants helped people who were stuck on I-65.

The spokeswoman told WHNT NEWS 19 work crews used a variety of dry and liquid de-icers to rid the roads of ice.