Traffic jams reported as cars return to Seoul

SEOUL, Sept. 20 (Yonhap) -- On the third day of the Chuseok holiday, highways were jammed with miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic as of 2 p.m. as people are returning to Seoul, wrapping up their visits to their hometowns, the local expressway operator said Friday.

Chuseok, which is the equivalent of Thanksgiving, is one of two major holidays in South Korea together with the Lunar New Year where families and relatives get together in their hometowns.

South Koreans are enjoying five consecutive days off from Wednesday this year.

The Korea Expressway Corp. said that the estimated driving time as of 2 p.m. from Busan, 453 kilometers southeast of Seoul, to the capital city is six hours and fifty minutes, while nearly six hours are needed to drive from Seoul to Busan.

The expressway operator said 200,000 cars returned to Seoul as of 2 p.m., with an additional 240,000 cars predicted to return to the capital by midnight.

It also said that a total of 320,000 vehicles are expected to leave Seoul by midnight.

"The traffic congestion is forecast to continue during the whole afternoon and then to be eased around midnight," officials at the expressway operator said.

<All rights reserved by Yonhap News Agency>