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Protesting truckers create gridlock on Long Beach Freeway and downtown L.A. [Updated]

November 13, 2009 |  9:30 am

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Scores of protesting truck drivers are slowing traffic on the Long Beach Freeway this morning, flashing their lights and hoping to raise attention about new environmental fees at the ports that they say threaten their livelihoods.

Up to 100 trucks are driving northbound on the 710, and are north of the San Diego Freeway, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Francisco Villalobos. The CHP was not told in advance about the protest, and is sending units to monitor it.

6a00d8341c630a53ef012875974 According to the National Port Drivers Assn., the caravan of trucks is driving from the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports – among the largest in the world – to Los Angeles City Hall. They are protesting new container fees contained in the Clean Truck Program that they say are hurting independent truckers’ income.

Commuters might want to consider alternative routes, such as the 605 Freeway.

[Updated at 10:17 a.m.: The truck caravan has reached downtown Los Angeles. Truck drivers, who are circling City Hall, are honking their horns and protesters on the sidewalk are waving signs. The LAPD is urging drivers to avoid the area.

While the CHP said 100 trucks were involved, some witnesses have said the number is actually much higher.

Traffic on the 710 South is expected to be jammed as the convoy goes back to the port.]

-- Seema Mehta

Photo: (Top) Protesting truckers pass Los Angeles City Hall. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times (Bottom) A caravan of trucks on the Long Beach Freeway this morning. Credit: Shelby Grad / Los Angeles Times

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