President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to the city slowed down traffic movement on several arterial roads for nearly half an hour.
The President, who was invited to take part in a function to celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema, landed at Chennai airport around 4 p.m. He headed to Raj Bhavan first and from there, headed to Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, the venue, around 4.45 p.m.
His convoy went via Kamaraj Salai, Sivananda Salai and Pallavan Salai to get to the venue. The traffic police had made elaborate arrangements to prevent major blocks. “I was returning from the High Court around 4 p.m. Near Madras Medical College, I got stuck,” said K. Ganesh, a lawyer.
He said it took him nearly 20 minutes to reach the bridge opposite Central railway station. “It usually takes just seconds to get there by car,” said Mr. Ganesh.
Due to the traffic restrictions in place, the movement of vehicles on Poonamalee High Road too slowed down. “I was stuck near E.V.R. Periyar Salai and it took me nearly 20 minutes to reach Gandhi Irwin Bridge,” said L. Richard, a businessman.
Many passengers headed to Chennai Central were among those stuck in the traffic. “I saw many walking towards the station. Some five ambulances were also stuck in the snarl,” he said.
Many motorists said the traffic movement was very slow even after the President reached the venue. “Around 5.30 p.m, an ambulance headed towards GH was stuck on Anna Salai. In frustration, some motorists tried to get on the footpaths and drive, but they could not,” said S. Yagna, a college student, who was on her way to Chintadripet MRTS station.
The President left the venue around 8 p.m. and went via Kamarajar Salai, to Raj Bhavan.