LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — A convoy of tractor-trailers circling the Capital Beltway in protest of the federal government and is causing some traffic problems in the Washington area.
The “Truckers Ride for the Constitution,” which organizer Zeeda Andrews says could attract as many as 3,000 big rigs to the nation’s capital, only had about 50 participants as of 2 p.m., but is expected to grow throughout the weekend.
Andrews insists the convoy is meant to be a peaceful protest rather than a traffic clog. The organizer said Thursday that reports of the trucks planning to take up three lanes of the Beltway were inaccurate, and that they should only occupy one lane of traffic.
But WNEW’s John Domen, who began following the trucks early Friday morning also they drove north along Interstate 95 and onto Interstate 495, said trucks were taking up all four lanes of the Inner Loop of the Beltway in Annandale, Va., and had slowed to 10 mph, blocking traffic from getting by.
A Virginia State Police officer approached the small convoy shortly before 9 a.m. and pulled over one truck to the shoulder. The other three trucks also pulled over to the side of the road near Exit 52A. Police say they only warned the drivers and didn’t write any tickets.
The trucks then resumed their drive along the Beltway at about 40 mph, taking up three right lanes and letting traffic by in the far left lane. The posted speed limit for the entire 64-mile length of the interstate is 55 mph.
Police pulled over a supporter driving along with the convoy near Exit 31 in Silver Spring just after 11 a.m. The entire convoy again pulled over to the shoulder of the Inner Loop while police spoke with the driver.
Some of the trucks are displaying flags and signs with a ‘#T2SDA’ hashtag as part of the demonstration that organizers say is a show of solidarity against what Andrews sees as an assault by the federal government on the U.S. Constitution.
Big rig operators met at a travel plaza off Exit 98 on I-95 in Doswell, Va., near King’s Dominion, early Friday morning and began their trek to the nation’s capital. The demonstration is supposed to continue through Sunday.
Sgt. Mark Black, spokesman for the Maryland State Police, said Thursday that authorities were aware of the planned demonstration and were prepared to help handle it. Virginia State Police say additional troopers are on patrol this weekend to respond to any incidents that may arise.