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‘Freedom Convoy’ of potentially 500 semis expected in Wisconsin Friday into Saturday

By Emily Hamer

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    WISCONSIN ( State Journal) — A convoy of potentially 500 semitrucks and other vehicles is expected to drive through Wisconsin Friday into Saturday and will likely cause an influx in traffic along Interstate 90 and 94, authorities said.

Two groups of the American Truckers Freedom Convoy — which is protesting against mask and vaccine mandates and “in support of health freedom,” according to the convoy’s website — plan to meet in Oakdale Friday afternoon, then drive along I-90 through Portage and South Beloit, Illinois, according to the convoy’s route and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. The truckers are headed to Washington, D.C.

The route passes through Dane County, but it’s unclear exactly what time the truckers will get there. The State Patrol said the timing is variable because the convoy is sometimes behind or ahead of schedule.

The State Patrol said the truckers plan to be in Wisconsin “Friday into Saturday,” but did not provide a more specific time. The State Patrol is working with local law enforcement to monitor the convoy.

“Officials are prepared for any potential incidents, but do not anticipate major traffic disruptions,” the State Patrol said.

Other officials have said they expect some disruptions.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said it’s planning for an influx of traffic around Oakdale, where the two groups are meeting.

The Tomah Area School District, which is near Oakdale, said it plans to have a district-wide early release because of the “logistical concerns” and “interruption to normal traffic flow.” School is being let out two hours early, but after-school activities will still take place.

The district said Wednesday that estimates suggest there could be upwards of 500 semis in the area from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Plans call for the truckers to spend the night around Portage, which could put them outside Madison around 9 a.m. Saturday.

In Dane County, the DeForest, Marshall and McFarland school districts said they have no plans to change their schedules. The Dane County Sheriff’s Office said it doesn’t have anything specific planned for the convoy’s arrival, and that the State Patrol is the agency focused on responding.

One of the trucker groups started its route in North Dakota, while the other is coming from Washington, according to the convoy’s website. When the Washington group left Spokane earlier this week, it had about a half-dozen semis and roughly 75 other vehicles, according to The Associated Press. It’s unclear how many vehicles are coming from North Dakota.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the State Patrol said their main priority is keeping truckers and residents safe as the convoy passes through.

“WisDOT’s primary goal is to make sure everyone is able to travel through the state safely,” the State Patrol said.

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