Even though the visitors to the Formula One Grand Prix had a smooth ride till Buddh International Circuit (BIC) on the final day, the return journey turned into a nightmare due to massive traffic jams on various routes.
According to Noida police, around 70,000 visitors left the race circuit at the same time, causing bottlenecks. Last year too, visitors had faced similar problems.
This time, the traffic police had made the entire stretch free from red lights and speed-breakers. But the measures proved inadequate at the end of the event. Police said the traffic movement was slow because the road near the Sahadra drain was narrow.
Commuters said they were stuck for hours on the service lane of the expressway, near the Mahamaya flyover, the Sahadra drain and Film City.
"I started from BIC at 5:45pm and at 7:30pm, I could only reach Film City. The service lane was jam-packed. Police had also barricaded some roads for VIP movement, adding to the chaos," said Sandeep Singh, one of the visitors.
But police officials said they took up measures to ensure smooth traffic movement. "Around 6,500 policemen were deployed to manage security and traffic. We barricaded roads wherever it was needed," said Praveen Kumar, superintendent of police.
Commuters, however, got some relief as the DND Flyway remained toll-free from 8 am to 10 pm. The flyway officials said around 80,000 vehicles used the route on Sunday.
A stretch of the Yamuna Expressway was made toll-free to ensure smooth vehicular movement to and from the race circuit. But many commuters using the route were caught unaware about the arrangement.
Initially, Jaypee Group had announced that the expressway would remain toll-free on Sunday. But, on Saturday evening, the operator issued directions that movement between Greater Noida zero point till BIC would be free for motorists but toll will be collected at other plazas.
Several commuters who had planned to travel towards Delhi after F1 were disappointed to learn that the entire expressway is not toll-free.
Celebs add glamour
The organisers, Jaypee Sports International Limited, were happy with the overwhelming response from the sports enthusiasts and the management at the venue.
The presence of Bollywood personalities added glitter to the mega sports event. Actors like Anil Kapoor, Neha Dhupia, Gul Panag, Dino Morea, Sonali Bendre, Ajay Devgn, Sonakshi Sinha, Mandira Bedi and others were present at the stadium.