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(LEAD) Traffic heavy on expressways on first day of Chuseok holiday

All News 14:42 September 12, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES with new figures)

SEOUL, Sept. 12 (Yonhap) -- Traffic was backing up heavily on many expressways across the country Thursday as people headed to their hometowns on the first day of the four-day Chuseok holiday.

Chuseok, the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving, is one of the country's biggest traditional holidays and serves as a chance for family members to get together to give thanks and pay tribute to their ancestors by preparing them meals and visiting their graves.

Chuseok is celebrated on Aug. 15 in the lunar calendar, which falls on Friday this year.

According to the Korea Expressway Corp., about 5.17 million vehicles were expected to use highways Thursday alone. About 270,000 vehicles have exited the Seoul metropolitan area for regional provinces, while some 140,000 vehicles have entered the metropolitan area so far.

"It appears that the region-bound traffic, which began yesterday, will continue through the night," an expressway corporation official said, adding that the heavy traffic is expected to begin easing around 7-8 p.m.

The Seoul-bound traffic is expected to become heavy around 9-10 a.m. Friday, the official said.

As of 1 p.m., it took about seven hours to get to the southeastern port city of Busan from Seoul; six hours and 40 minutes to the city of Ulsan; six hours and 10 minutes to the southwestern city of Gwangju; four hours to the east coast city of Kangnung, and three hours and 40 minutes to the central city of Daejeon.

Traffic is backed up on the Gyeongbu Expressway on the first day of the Chuseok holiday on Sept. 12, 2019. (Yonhap)


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