'A chaotic situation'

Stockholm braces for Obama traffic circus

Stockholm braces for Obama traffic circus
Stockholmers are expected to suffer some heavy delays next week as the US President Barack Obama visits the Swedish capital, with authorities predicting traffic chaos.

Staff members at Stockholm’s chapter of the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) expect a busy few days from the moment President Obama touches down at Arlanda airport next Wednesday, September 4th.

“We’re anticipating a chaotic situation,” Anna Ekberg, spokeswoman at Trafik Stockholm, told The Local. “Lots of roads in the city centre will be blocked, there will be traffic jams.”

SEE ALSO: Five things Obama needs to know about Sweden

“You better not take the car, but go by bus or take the metro,” she said, adding that Stockholm’s public transportation system might get crowded as well.

The main roads between the Arlanda airport, north of the capital, and central Stockholm will be closed off as Obama’s motorcade heads in town to meet with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and other political leaders.

Areas including Nybrokajen, Hamngatan, the city centre, Gamla stan, and the area around the royal palace will be totally closed off to traffic.

Ekberg at the Transport Administration believes even commuters will feel the sting.

“If you don’t need to go to the city centre, you shouldn’t do it,” Ekberg said, adding with a laugh that those working in the city might be better to take the day off work.

While in Sweden, Obama will meet Reinfeldt, together with the prime ministers of all Sweden’s Nordic neighbours. He is also expected to have lunch with the king and queen before heading on to Russia for the G20 summit in St. Petersberg.

On Wednesday evening, the president is reportedly booked into the Grand Hotel in a suite that costs 71,600 kronor ($10,900) a night, according to the Aftonbladet newspaper.

The suite, named after the late Princess Lillian, boasts two bedrooms, a living room, library, kitchen, and a private cinema, spread over 330 square metres.

When The Local contacted the hotel, hotel staff would not confirm the presidential visit.

To keep an eye on the current traffic situation in Stockholm, click here for up to the minute updates and webcam footage.

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