Motorcycle Ride to Commemorate 9-11 Attacks Causes Fears of Gridlock in Virginia and Maryland
A ride to commemorate the events of Sept. 11 is expected to draw some 1,800 motorcycles – and as a consequence – require that some of the congested highways on the east coast be closed during peak hours today and tomorrow.
Authorities say drivers might consider avoiding highways in Western Maryland and Northern Virginia on Friday, Aug. 19, and Interstate 95 North in Maryland on Saturday morning, Aug. 20.
Given the fact that police will be escorting riders, the potential for gridlock Friday afternoon is so real that U.S. Office of Personnel Management says it “strongly urges” federal employees to take a day off. The threat of a slowdown is so real that Maryland officials are telling motorists in Western Maryland who take the route of the commemorative ride that on Friday morning, they can expect their commute to take an additional two hours
The procession of motorcycles is expected to extend 13 to 15 miles and traffic officials say the effect will be to slow traffic for hours.
Officials say delays are expected in Northern Virginia between noon and 7 p.m. today along the Dulles Greenway, the Dulles Toll Road, Interstate 66 and Route 110 South. The same officials said backups as a result of the ride could effect the Capital Beltway, the George Washington Parkway and local roads as well.
Ted Sjurseth is the president of the nonprofit group America’s 911 Foundation, organizers of the ride. Sjurseth the route was designed to allow the riders to reach all three 9-11 plane-crash sites within three days. According to Sjurseth, his group’s goal was to include 2,977 participants in the ride, and that would represent one participant for every person killed in the terrorist attacks.
Riders will be along to assist with breakdowns and injuries.
9-11 Commemorative Ride Starts Today and Extends Through Sunday
The column is expected to enter Loudoun County about 2 p.m. today, leave the Pentagon at 6:45 a.m. Saturday and then proceed to New York on Interstate 395 North, Pennsylvania Avenue, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and then I-95. Maryland State Police have advised motorists to avoid northbound B/W Parkway and I-95 from 6:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
The ride will then head to the World Trade Center site on Sunday morning to bring a close to the event.
Not everyone is thrilled with the planning that went into the event.
“It’s right in the middle of rush hour,” said John Townsend of AAA. “Whoever gave the permission for this needs to have his head examined.”
Previous versions of the event have take place on Friday afternoons over the last nine years, but have only included several hundred motorcycles.
- AUGUST 19th
8:45am(ish) I-68 East from Cumberland to I-70 East to Exit 28
Hagerstown MD (Prime Outlets)
(depart 12:30pm ish) I-70 East to exit 52a US-15/340 South
US-15 South (business route) into (2:00pm ish) Leesburg to
Dulles Greenway East to Rt 66
Rt 66 to Rt 110 to Pentagon
- AUGUST 20
Depart Pentagon at 6:45am 395 North to BW-PKWY
BW-PKWY to I-95 to Maryland House Rest Area
Depart Maryland House 9:30am I-95 north to Delaware
Depart from Mike’s Famous HD 1:15pm I-95 North to 295 North in NJ
295 North to Exit 57 Bordentown (Rt 130) expect arrival 2:45pm(ish)
Rt 130 to US 1/9 to Linden NJ
Depart Linden 6:30pm(ish) US-1/9 to Holland Tunnel
- AUGUST 21
9:00am 50th and 7th Ave to World Trade Center
after 11:00am Participants departing from NYC
All roadways will have a large Motorcycle presence