The DC trucker protest or “People’s Convoy” has been in DC for nearly two weeks now, impacting traffic in ways that span from minimal to extreme. 

During their first week, the protest had only minor to moderate impacts on typical traffic along the beltway. The demonstration stuck to Interstate 270 and Interstate 495 from Sunday, March 6th until Sunday, March 13th and slow-rolled along the beltway every day except for one, when the roll was canceled due to rain. 

The protests during that first week caused some slowing in traffic along the beltway and Interstate 270 as cars got trapped behind the slow-moving trucks, but delays were considered to be manageable, and the minimal traffic dissipated after the convoy made its way through the area. Slightly more impactful slowing was experienced in the afternoons as the convoy made its way back to Hagerstown. 

Monday, March 14th saw the most “extreme” traffic impacts according to WTOP News. Major delays developed as the convoy made its way from I-270 around the Outer Loop and northbound Interstate 395 into the District. Traffic flow broke down at the 14th Street Bridge. 

Traffic control was implemented by the DC Police, who shut down all exits on the Southeast/Southwest Freeway and a majority of exits on I-295 for around two hours. These closures included 14th Street Southwest, East Potomac Park, the 12th Street Expressway, Maine Avenue Southwest, the 3rd Street Tunnel, South Capitol Street, 6th Street Southeast, Southeast Boulevard, and D.C. Route 295. These closures were aimed at keeping the convoy on the interstate, but caused many four-wheelers to be trapped on the interstate, unable to exit. Some attempted to turn around in highway medians, but became stuck. At one point, police allowed local traffic through various checkpoints, but detours and exit closures kept the interstate congested and confusing. Most closures were lifted by 4 p.m. 

The convoy split into several groups on Tuesday, March 15th. One group headed to I-395 north in Virginia while the other took Interstate 295 into DC. Traffic was once again impacted by police closure of most northbound ramps on I-295, particularly those near Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling and the Department of Homeland Security, along with the left exit to the 11th Street Bridge and Southeast/Southwest Freeway.

Traffic was also stop-and-go toward Maryland as many ramps in northeast DC and at the Kenilworth Avenue interchange for Route 50 were blocked. Some convoy participants traveled along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, where truck traffic is prohibited. Most closures were lifted by 3 p.m.

More major impacts were seen on Wednesday, March 16th. The convoy once again split into multiple groups. One group attempted to access Interstate 66 but had little success, while a group of pickups rolled through downtown during rolling road closures. The longest delays came from an inbound group on the 14th Street Bridge and the related police traffic control. 

Northbound traffic along I-395 was backed up to Washington Boulevard by 1 p.m. as the first group neared the 14th Street Bridge. Around an hour later, a second wave consisting of a few dozen participants headed northbound on I-395 through Virginia. Just before 3:30 p.m. the group stopped on the bridge in a center lane for 20 minutes, causing some delays. Some witnesses describe an obstruction on the bridge as the reason for the stop. Once moving again, the convoy came to another stop near the Francis Case Bridge as a heavy police response surrounded the group. Officers say this response was due to a “minor traffic incident.”

Most of the day’s ramp closures were lifted by 4:30 p.m., but delays were seen into the evening. 

No significant delays or closures were reported on Thursday, but Friday saw heavy traffic and delays due to road closures along I-395. By 2:45 p.m. police were warning of “heavy traffic volume” and closures at inbound 14th Street Bridge Toll Road, inbound I-395 ar Exit 3 to 12th Street Tunnel, and eastbound on Maine Avenue at the split to I-395 and Wharf.

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