WASHINGTON - This Memorial Day weekend will mark the 30th anniversary of Rolling Thunder. The annual motorcycle gathering in the nation’s capital is held to honor POW and MIA service members and attracts thousands of bikers and spectators alike.
The event kicks off on Sunday, but many are starting to gather in preparation of the event.
Buddy Cooper is from the D.C. area and says he has participated in Rolling Thunder for the last 27 years. “It’s my way of giving back,” he said. Cooper said he wasn’t able to pass his physical to enter the military and that taking part in this tradition is his way of supporting those who served.
Cooper says the purpose of the ride is to raise awareness about military members who are considered Missing in Action and Prisoners of War. “The main thing we want is accountability. We want to find them and we want to bring them home. That's our mission.”
Cooper says he hopes the group’s message gets through to lawmakers.” The mission isn’t done. And we’re going to be here until it is.”
Riders come from all throughout the United States and from outside of the country. Cooper estimates that a half a million bikers will pass through the District for the ride.
Sunday, May 28 | TRAFFIC ADVISORY: 2017 Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom
The rally area will be at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, on the north and south parking lots, which will be open at 7:00 am.
The staging area will be in front of the Lincoln Memorial at Ohio and Independence Avenue, S.W.
The following roads will be closed from approximately 10:30 am to 3:00 pm:
- Memorial Bridge
- Constitution Avenue, NW from 23rd Street, NW to 3rd Street, NW
- 3rd Street, SW from Constitution Avenue, NW to Independence Avenue, SW
- Independence Avenue, SW from 3rd Street, SW to West Potomac Park, SW
- All NORTHBOUND traffic across the 14th Street bridge will be diverted to EASTBOUND I-395 (SE/SW Freeway)
- 12th Street Tunnel will be closed to ALL NORTHBOUND traffic
- The 9th Street Tunnel will be closed to ALL SOUTHBOUND traffic
- There will be no closures of the 3rd Street tunnel but traffic may be heavier than normal, due to the other closures
The motorcycle ride will form in North Pentagon Parking Lot and will proceed over the following route:
Across Memorial Bridge to 23rd Street, North on 23rd Street to Constitution Ave, East on Constitution Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue, East on Pennsylvania Avenue to 3rd St, South on 3rd Street to Independence Avenue, West on Independence Avenue to West Basin Drive, Southwest on West Basin Drive to Ohio Drive, Northwest on Ohio Drive to Franklin D. Roosevelt Park where they will disband.
Motorists traveling in the area of this event may experience delays and should consider alternative routes, if possible. The Metropolitan Police Department and the District Department of Transportation would like to remind motorists to pay full attention whenever operating any motor vehicle to be mindful of heavy pedestrian traffic that may be associated with special events. These street closings are subject to change without notice based upon unanticipated events and prevailing conditions.