Highways nationwide clog with traffic as Chuseok exodus begins

September 9, 2022

 Sections of expressways nationwide became clogged with traffic Thursday as South Koreans headed to their hometowns for family reunions one day ahead of the four-day Chuseok holiday.

This year’s Chuseok holiday, or the Korean fall harvest celebration, runs from Friday to Monday. Traditionally, Koreans head back to their hometowns to spend time with their families and bow at their ancestors’ altars and graves.

As the holiday exodus began, sections of highways across the country became congested with traffic late Thursday morning, including the Gyeongbu Expressway linking Seoul to the southern port city of Busan.

Traffic congestion slowed the average traveling speed down to 40 kilometers per hour at some busiest sections of the Gyeongbu Expressway as of 11 a.m., according to Korea Expressway Corp.

Cars on parts of the Seohaean Expressway, which connects Seoul to the southwestern port city of Mokpo, and other major highways were also running slowly due to traffic jams.

As of noon, it took 5 1/2 hours to drive from Seoul to Busan, 325 km southeast of the capital, about 1 1/2 hours longer than normal. The expressway operator said traffic congestion may become heavier in the afternoon as more cars are expected to hit the road.

Cars move southward from Seoul's Jamwon Interchange connecting to the Gyeongbu Expressway on Sept. 8, 2022. (Yonhap)

Cars move southward from Seoul’s Jamwon Interchange connecting to the Gyeongbu Expressway on Sept. 8, 2022. (Yonhap)