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Highways clog with traffic as Chuseok exodus is in full swing

11:12 September 20, 2021

SEOUL, Sept. 20 (Yonhap) -- Traffic surged on South Korea's expressways nationwide Monday as a huge number of people head to their hometowns for family reunions and for travel during the extended Chuseok holiday, the traffic agency said.

More than 4 million vehicles are expected to hit the road across the country in the day, with 390,000 leaving Seoul and the surrounding metropolitan regions for other parts of the country, according to the Korea Expressway Corps.

As of 9 a.m., the drive to the southeastern city of Busan from Seoul took five 1/2 hours, at least one hour longer than usual, the agency said, adding the traffic volume is expected to reach the maximum at around noon before easing at around 7 p.m.

This year's Chuseok, the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving, falls on Tuesday, and the holiday runs through Wednesday. Koreans usually visit their hometowns to get together with family members and visit their ancestors' graves.

Around 32.26 million people are expected to travel during the Chuseok holiday, and the average daily traffic is estimated at 5.38 million, up 3.5 percent from a year earlier, according to the Korea Transport Institute. But this year's figure marked a 16.4 percent fall compared to 2019, a pre-pandemic year.

The southbound lanes of a highway in the city of Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, are clogged with heavy traffic on Sept. 20, 2021, with a police helicopter monitoring from above. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)



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