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Tracking truckers: Traffic jam on I-395 as convoy heads into DC for the first time

Convoy traffic again reached the I-495 West section of the Beltway on Monday afternoon.

WASHINGTON — Note: Also check out reporter Tom Dempsey's coverage, plus our website and app for the latest.

Hundreds of truckers have spent the past week traversing the country from the west coast returning to the nation's capital Monday morning to protest COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates put in place by the federal government since the pandemic began.

The "People's Convoy" originated in California last week and has merged with several other organized convoys of varying size to converge on D.C. to protest in a similar fashion to the truck driver protests that halted Canadian government operations in the capital of Ottawa over the last month.

Protesters who are part of the People's Convoy stress their demonstration will remain peaceful.

RELATED: Heightened security in DC remains for possible truck convoys despite previous uneventful protests

Live Updates

Monday, March 14

3:34 p.m. -- Trucker Convoy is exiting Northbound 395/695 and MPD is reopening the ramps to 14th St, 12th St (Tunnel), Potomac Park & 3rd St Tunnel

2:30 p.m. -- DC Police confirm traffic jams on Northbound 395 stem from the convoy heading into D.C. 

"Due to ongoing demonstration activity on I-395, I-695, and I-295 motorists should expect significant traffic delays in reaching your destination," DC Police said. "If possible, you should consider delaying travel on these routes or use alternative transportation such as Metrorail. The Metropolitan Police Department has closed a number of streets and highway exits in order to keep traffic moving safely through the area. These rolling road closures are occurring in real-time as they are needed, and will be lifted as soon as they are no longer necessary." 

Thursday, March 10

11:30 a.m. - After a scheduled day off of due to rainy weather in the DC region, the convoy departed Hagerstown speedway and resumed their protest laps around the beltway. This time, Senator Ted Cruz, two days removed from meeting with leaders of the convoy, joined the protest inside a semi-truck and gave thumbs up to onlookers and supporters posted on overpasses on I-70E.

Tuesday, March 8

12 p.m. - While convoy leaders met with senators, the masses of trucks continue to move down I-270 Southbound express lanes towards the beltway in Montgomery County. Some viewers reported brake checking and hostility on the road from convoy participants in pickup trucks with large banners and flags. Maryland State Police says they have not received any calls related to dangerous driving by convoy participants. 

11 a.m. - People's Convoy leader Brian Brase and other representative members of the convoy met with Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) for about 90 minutes Tuesday morning on Capitol Hill to share stories of their experiences back home, their motivations for the protest, and their intention to continue circling the beltway until their demands of actions from the federal government are met. In impassioned speeches, notes, anecdotes, and testimonials, the convoy representatives pushed for an end to federal vaccine mandates for healthcare workers, the federal state of emergency, and touted personal freedom as contrary to the current measures used to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 across the US. Questions from media in the room regarding the next steps for the convoy protest were met with hostility and name-calling at times. The senators refocused the discussion and called for more people to stand up to the 'petty tyrants of oppression' in congress and the executive branch.

Monday, March 7

3 p.m. -- Convoy traffic once again reached the beltway, with two lanes of sign- and American flag-festooned vehicles traveling about 45-55 mph on I-495 West. The convoy honked and waved as onlookers cheered outside of Silver Spring.

1 p.m. -- Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) requested and received a briefing regarding the convoys from United States Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger. Norton confirmed the vehicles from both convoys - one based out of Hagerstown and one parking at Dominion Raceway - comprise about 2,000 vehicles from all over the country. As of now, they apparently do not plan to disrupt regular business inside D.C., by instead plan to drive several laps around the beltway at 45-55 miles per hour and bus some representatives into the District to meet with members of Congress.

"Chief Manger told me that he was more worried last week, before the State of the Union, prior to making contact with the convoys, and he currently does not expect either of the groups to cause security problems in the area. As the situation could change, I will continue monitoring closely to ensure D.C. residents are kept safe," Norton wrote  

12:00 p.m. -- WUSA9 spotted a number of trucks leaving Hagerstown Speedway and are traveling along Interstate 70 east towards Frederick.

9:54 a.m. -- People’s Convoy is preparing for another ride down the Beltway this afternoon. They have not given a time yet. Organizers just confirmed meetings tomorrow with Sen. Ron Johnson & Sen. Ted Cruz. 

8:19 a.m. -- Organizers of the trucker protest held a meeting on a live stream at the Hagerstown Speedway. During the meeting, they expressed concerns on if and when they should come to the Beltway --- whether today or Tuesday. Here were the key points from the meeting:

  • They are working to set up meetings with lawmakers. Some Congress members told them they can meet Tuesday.
  • They noted that law enforcement agencies "are happy" with how they complied with authorities during the protest Sunday.
  • Truckers will be asked to drop their trailers and go “bobcat” only to protect their vehicles next time they ride out
  • Due to concerns of children who are riding along in the convoy, organizers do not want anyone going into D.C. because of fears of a security conflict like Jan. 6

Sunday, March 6

8:49 p.m. - D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee shared a statement with the school community to let them know that the school system is monitoring the expected trucker convoy Monday morning. School and classes will be on schedule.

4:54 p.m. - In an email update, the "People's Convoy" confirms that they're circling the DC Beltway before a return to Hagerstown later this evening. Participants plan to meet upon their return and at 8 a.m. Monday, too. 

3:30 p.m. - A request for National Guard troops to assist with traffic control during the truck convoys has been extended to Wednesday.  

1:55 p.m. - There is a slowdown with traffic on Beltway WB in Virginia from the American Legion Bridge and also around the IKEA in College Park.

1:11 p.m. - Maryland State Police issued a statement this morning urging motorists to plan ahead due to "possible higher volumes of traffic while traveling in and around the Maryland abd National Captital Region."

12:33 p.m. - The People's convoy has updated their route for the convoy today. 

From the Hagerstown speedway they will turn onto Rt. 40 to I-81S to I-70E to I-270S to I-495S. 

They will loop the beltway twice and then drive back up from I-495 to I-270N to I-70w to I-81N to exit 5B to the AC&T truck stop for refueling. 

From there the convoy will travel on I-81N and exit to Rt. 40  and exit at 6B to the Hagerstown Spedway. 

11:10 a.m. - Alert DC issued a traffic advisory and is monitoring the convoy which they expect will "disrupt travel on roadways in and around the National Capital Region." 

11 a.m. - Truckers are currently on the move towards the belway.

9 a.m. - The “People’s Convoy” of hundreds of truckers is now on its way to snarl traffic on the DC Beltway. Organizers said they have been in contact with local law enforcement and the convoy will do two laps around the Beltway at slow speeds.

Truckers told WUSA 9 it has previously taken the Convoy 2.5 hours to exit the grounds where they’ve camped. The Convoy could be 20 or more miles long, with close to 1,000 trucks and accompanying cars and drivers involved.
“We are not going into DC proper at this time,” an organizer on a megaphone told the truckers, adding, “doesn’t mean it won’t happen.” Some truckers said they wanted to protest in DC, driving to the White House.

8:32 a.m. - Trucker Convoy will depart from Hagerstown and head towards the beltway between 9 and 9:30 a.m. They said that they will be doing two slow laps around the beltway.

Saturday, March 5

6:12 p.m. - Organizers confirm that truckers are staying in Hagerstown for the night and will likely make way for D.C. on Sunday.

3:45 p.m. - A rally begins at 5 p.m. in Hagerstown which will feature speeches from a number of people.

2:20 p.m. - The American Truckers Freedom Convoy is expected to host a rally on March 6 in Woodford, VA for the multiple convoys that have traveled throughout the country. Following the rally, on March 7, convoy leaders are expected to meet with Congress and later hold a press conference on Capitol Hill.

12:30 p.m. - Reports of the People's Convoy protest staying another full day in Hagerstown are coming in, with a possible rally to be held again tonight from the speedway. SKY9 is flying over the convoy now.

7:33 a.m. - Trucks and cars gathered at the Hagerstown Speedway parking lot in Hagerstown, MD. Some convoys are anticipated to head towards the beltway today and tomorrow.

Friday, March 4.

 5 p.m. EST  - WMATA issued a statement saying to expect disruptions to Metrobus activity over the weekend because of planned demonstrations in D.C.

"Buses on 29 routes may be detoured or truncated through the downtown area," the statement says. "Traffic disruptions may continue for an extended period of time and demonstration activity may create additional impacts throughout the Washington, D.C. region."

4:00 p.m. EST - People's Convoy begins arriving at the Hagerstown Speedway where they will stay overnight. Organizer Brian Brase told participants that the schedule had changed from the original plan of staying one night in Hagerstown and moving into D.C. on Saturday. Now the group will apparently spend two nights in the region before entering the district.

1:00 p.m. EST - Washington County, Maryland officials warn drivers of potential traffic backups due to the trucker convoy on major highways such as I-70 East from Hancock to I-81, I-81 North, and 40 West towards Hagerstown Speedway.

10:00 a.m. Local Time - People's Convoy departs Ohio and heads through Pennsylvania towards their last stop before D.C., The Hagerstown Speedway in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Thursday, March 3

5:00 p.m. Local Time - People's Convoy arrives in Lore City, Ohio at a rest area off I-70 east.

9:00 a.m. Local Time - People's Convoy departs Monrovia, Indiana after an overnight stay at a local gas station and truck stop, and heads for the next checkpoint location in Lore City, Ohio.

Wednesday, March 2

7:00 p.m. Local Time - People's Convoy holds 'Freedom Rally' in Monrovia, Indiana with Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita. Hundreds were in attendance.

RELATED: Officials heighten security ahead of State of the Union address

Wednesday, February 23

10:00 a.m. Local Time - The People's Convoy, a spinoff of the disbanded 'Freedom Convoy' taking the name of the large Canadian trucker protest, departs from California headed on its way to Washington D.C., with plans to pick up hundreds of additional vehicles along the route.

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