(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in 5, 7-8)
CHUNCHEON, South Korea, March 1 (Yonhap) -- Hundreds of cars were trapped on some parts of a highway along the east coast Monday as heavy snowfall caused a traffic gridlock, the road authority said.
Gangwon Province received about 10 centimeters of snowfall earlier in the day, which caused many cars returning from a three-day holiday to be stuck on the snow-covered Donghae Expressway, according to Korea Expressway Corp. (KEC)'s regional office.
Monday is Independence Movement Day, a South Korean national holiday.
Hundreds of cars were trapped in a 2-kilometer course between intersections of Sokcho and Yangyang, located about 200 km east of Seoul, as of late Monday, the KEC said, without elaborating on the exact figure.
Entry to heavily congested areas on the highway as well as uphill passes has been banned since Monday afternoon, the KEC said.
Several accidents occurred as many cars were not ready for heavy snow, which came in a relatively short period of time, officials said.
A total of 460 traffic accidents had been reported until 5 p.m., and 47 people were sent to hospitals, Gangwon Fire Headquarters said.
Road authorities expected the heavy traffic jam to continue, as 10-40 cm of snowfall is forecast in the eastern Gangwon Province by Tuesday afternoon.
BTS fails to win Grammy for 3rd consecutive year
(LEAD) 1st S. Korean state compensation ordered for victim of Vietnam War mass killings
Jay Park's Won Soju to be sold in U.S.
(2nd LD) Search under way for 9 missing after fishing boat capsizes
(LEAD) Ahn calls off campaigning activities amid row with Yoon's office
S. Korea opens metaverse platform for Korean-language learning
(LEAD) N. Korean leader visits barracks with his daughter to mark army founding anniv.
N. Korea holds military parade in Pyongyang to mark armed forces' founding anniv.: source
Ex-gov't employee summarily indicted for alleged attempt to sell Jungkook's lost hat
S. Korea to hold nationwide civil air defense drills in May after 6-year hiatus