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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

VIP Visit Spells a Traffic Nightmare

MTPolice officers keeping watch near a row of government-owned Mercedes parked outside the Marriott Grand Hotel on Thursday.
While the results of the U.S.-Russian summit have yet to be announced, one consequence became clear Thursday. Downtown traffic jams will only get worse.

The traffic police began clearing vast parts of the city early Thursday morning to secure a safe passage for U.S. President George W. Bush and his entourage. Bush arrived Thursday night.

The police removed all vehicles from the territory around the Marriott Grand Hotel on Tverskaya Ulitsa, where Bush may be staying. Staropimenovsky Pereulok, where the hotel's entrance is located, was completely sealed off.

"We were told by the police not to stick our noses anywhere near the hotel," said Igor, a 16-year-old student of school No. 1113, located a few meters away from the hotel.

The measures mainly aimed to free the roads so as to allow Bush to speed along Tverskaya to the Kremlin and on Leninsky Prospekt, the route to Vnukovo-2 Airport, where the presidential jet is parked.

Police officers gradually took up positions along the route Thursday. Tow trucks were parked here and there, ready to evacuate any vehicle left unattended.

The first significant traffic delays were expected Friday morning, when Bush was to lay flowers on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In the afternoon -- at the same time when thousands of Muscovites make their weekend exodus to the dacha -- Bush is to travel to the Novo-Ogaryovo presidential residence in western Moscow, probably disrupting traffic on Kutuzovsky Prospekt and Rublyovskoye Shosse.

First ladies Lyudmila Putin and Laura Bush also are expected to attend a series of events Friday, snarling downtown traffic as they pass by.

The police, traffic police and the Federal Guard Service refused to give any details about Friday's interruptions.

Staff at the Kremlin Museum, meanwhile, were left guessing whether visitors would be able to access the Kremlin.

"We are canceling all group tours for tomorrow, but that is just as a precaution. In reality, we have no idea what will happen," said a woman who picked up the telephone at the Kremlin box office.

Security measures for Bush's visit have been kept under wraps. Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reported Thursday that the security includes scores of plainclothes agents at the locations around Bush's stops and snipers along his travel routes.

Security has also been boosted around the U.S. Embassy.

By no coincidence, a number of quick road repairs have been conducted on Leninsky Prospekt and the streets surrounding the U.S. Embassy.

Bush is due to leave Moscow for St. Petersburg on Saturday morning.