WASHINGTON – Truckers are promising to cause a traffic jam on the Capital Beltway Friday in a political protest.
So, what can the average driver expect to see?
Commuters around the D.C. region who use the Beltway should anticipate running into a large convoy of semis and other vehicles with “#T2SDA” (Truckers to Shut Down America) written on windows.
The truckers are planning to arrive in the D.C. area in three waves between 8:15 and 9 a.m. Friday. And they plan to stay in the right lane as they caravan around the Beltway.
Truckers are expected to meet in Virginia and Pennsylvania allowing them to approach the Beltway from both the north and the south. They plan to cause congestion on Interstate 495 throughout the day.
But they also intend to loop around the Beltway at various times throughout the weekend, with as many as 3,000 truckers participating. Some trucks, without a trailer attached, will travel to the World War II Memorial, which has captured national headlines as groups of aging veterans came to visit the closed memorial due to the government shutdown.
Now the truckers are on the receiving end of the nation’s attention, with the group’s Facebook page garnering more than 100,000 “likes” in less than three weeks.
“We’ve got the entire country behind us on this,” says organizer Ernest Lee in a video posted on the official “Truckers Ride for the Constitution” Facebook page.
“Anybody at all is talking about the truckers that are coming to shut down D.C.,” Lee says.
The group was quick to distance itself from one man who initially told the media they might lock up their brakes and cause a road block.
Organizers have since warned all participants to act peacefully.
“You got to stay legal. We don’t want any illegal activity,” says Lee.
“We want no negative coverage whatsoever,” he adds.
Leaders of the group say they are fed up with “corruption that is destroying America,” and they want President Barack Obama to step down or be removed from office.
It’s not clear how many trucks will actually participate. The group claims it is “overwhelmed” by the number of requests to take part in the demonstration.
State authorities in Maryland and Virginia tell WTOP they are aware of the situation.
“Virginia State Police is aware of the proposed convoy of commercial vehicles and is preparing accordingly with the region’s law enforcement agencies and the Virginia Department of Transportation, just as we have done in the past for similar demonstrations held within the National Capital Region,” VSP said in a statement.
“As long as the vehicles comply with Virginia law, then the Virginia State Police will not interfere with their activities.”
VSP spokesperson Corinne Geller says there will be additional troopers working Friday and through the weekend to respond to any incidents should they arise.
WTOP’s Andrew Mollenbeck contributed to this report.