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Traffic slows as Lunar New Year holiday begin

A section of the Seoul-Busan expressway in southern Seoul is congested with vehicles on Jan. 21, 2023, as many people hit the road to celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday. (Yonhap)y
A section of the Seoul-Busan expressway in southern Seoul is congested with vehicles on Jan. 21, 2023, as many people hit the road to celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday. (Yonhap)y

Traffic on some highway sections slowed down Saturday as people hit the road to visit their hometowns or go on trips as the Lunar New Year holiday began.

This year's extended Lunar New Year holiday runs from Saturday through Tuesday, with the nation celebrating its first such holiday without social distancing restrictions since the outbreak of COVID-19 three years ago.

According to the Korea Expressway Corp. (KEC), some sections of the Gyeongbu Expressway, which links Seoul to the southeastern port city of Busan, were hit by traffic jams.

The KEC estimated around 5.15 million vehicles will hit the road nationwide Saturday, with 500,000 traveling from the greater Seoul area to provinces and 360,000 vice versa.

Outbound traffic from Seoul is expected to ease at around 8-9 p.m., it said.

As of 1 p.m., the expected travel time was 6 hours and 40 minutes from Seoul to Busan, 4 hours and 40 minutes from Seoul to the southwestern city of Gwangju, and 6 1/2 hours from Seoul to the southeastern city of Daegu, according to the KEC.

A section of the Seoul-Busan expressway in southern Seoul is congested with vehicles on Jan. 21, 2023, as many people hit the road to celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday. (Yonhap)

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