Trucker convoy on the move with plans to circle DC Beltway twice

People’s Convoy drivers have shifted their plans, with a spokesperson telling WTOP that they have plans to Circle the Beltway on Sunday.

A People’s Convoy gathered at the Hagerstown Speedway has begun what’s expected to be a slow trip from Maryland to D.C.’s Beltway to drive in protest of COVID-19 restrictions Sunday morning.

While vehicles began moving around 9:30 a.m., the convoy should take a while to crawl out of the speedway.

A spokesperson tells WTOP that they plan to circle the Beltway on Sunday in protest of COVID-19 restrictions. Afterward, they’re expected to head back to Hagerstown.

Lynne Kristensen, a spokesperson with the People’s Convoy, said that plans have not been finalized, but that the convoy does plan to drive around D.C. They don’t plan to enter D.C. proper.

“The People’s Convoy plans to circle the beltway [Sunday] and has been working with local and state law enforcement to find the best time to travel,” Kristensen said in a message to WTOP.

The convoys plans

A Facebook page for the group told the group gathered at the speedway to meet up at 8 a.m. on Sunday at Mike Landis’ drop deck trailer but the post doesn’t specify timing of a departure.

A convoy leader told The Washington Post that the protesters will loop the beltway twice at the minimum speed limit Sunday morning after leaving Hagerstown around 9:30 a.m. But it could take some time for the trucks and other participating vehicles to reach the beltway.

The convoy will keep up with the pattern of circling the convoy while increasing the number of loops every day this week until their demands are met, The Washington Post reports.

The convoy had said it would head toward D.C. on Saturday, but the group ended up staying in Hagerstown, Maryland overnight.

The route

  • Turn left onto Route 40 to Interstate-81 south to I-70 east to I-270 south to I-495 south.
  • Loop the beltway 2 times and then drive back to Hagerstown Speedway from Interstate-495 to I-270 north to I-70 west to I-81 north to (exit 5b).
  • Stop at the AC&T truck stop to refuel.
  • Drive I-81n one exit to Route 40 (exit 6b) to the Hagerstown Speedway.

What the group wants

The convoy has stated a primary opposition to mask mandates and other COVID-19 regulations. Most of those mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in recent weeks.

The convoy wants President Joe Biden to end the State of Emergency declared by Donald Trump at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to their website.

They’re also asking Congress to hold hearings for government officials who handled the pandemic.

Local officials preparing for traffic

Virginia State Police are monitoring the convoy’s potential impact to traffic with the help of local, state and federal partners, according to a news release.

The agency said they’ve talked with the protest’s leaders and if the convoy enters the region, drivers will see an increased presence of Virginia Troopers and the state’s Motor Carrier Safety teams to ease traffic.

“Virginia State Police respects the public’s First Amendment rights and has been in contact with various groups’ organizers to ensure their understanding of Virginia traffic laws,” the news release states. “These communications have also enabled us to share our expectations related to keeping traffic flowing safely and efficiently on Virginia highways, especially in the case of emergencies and for first responder vehicles.”

The convoy’s spokesperson added that plans are fluid and that more information would be available on Sunday in response to the Washington Post’s reporting.

The trucker convoy was estimated to have hundreds of vehicles ranging from semis to standard-sized cars.

This is a developing story. Stay with WTOP and Traffic and Weather on the 8’s for the latest on your commute. WTOP’s Matt Small contributed to this report.

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