Traffic congestion reported on highways as people head home to celebrate Chuseok

SEOUL, Sept. 19 (Yonhap) -- Traffic congestion was reported on many of the country's highways as people rush to their hometowns to celebrate the Chuseok holiday with relatives and friends, the Korea Expressway Corp. said Thursday.

Chuseok, the equivalent of Thanksgiving, is one of the most important traditional holidays of the year. People go back to their hometowns where they eat special prepared food. Koreans also pay homage to ancestors during the three-day-long holiday.

The state-run corporation said it took cars seven hours and 50 minutes to reach the port city of Busan from Seoul, normally less than five hours, and close to six hours to reach Gwangju, normally three hours.

Other destinations like Mokpo, 410 kilometers south of Seoul, and Gangneung, 237 kilometers to the east of the capital on the coast, took longer to get to due to heavy traffic, it said.

In particular, there was considerable congestion near Seoul as cars crowded outbound highways.

The highway corporation said up until 10 a.m. more than 140,000 vehicles left Seoul, with 450,000 automobiles expected to leave during the day.

"Thursday is expected to have the most sever congestion with things likely to improve only past midnight," an official said.

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