Expressways congested on first day of Lunar New Year holiday

We start… as is customary during major national
holidays in Korea… with the situation on the nation′s expressways on this first day
of the five-day Lunar New Year holiday. Millions of Koreans have been hitting the
road,… leaving Seoul and heading to their hometowns to visit their families.
With more than 80 percent of people travelling by car or bus,… major expressways across
the country can get notoriously congested. Let′s get a check on the current conditions,…
with our Oh Soo-young,… who is at a toll gate heading out of Seoul.
Soo-young, how are things looking at the moment? Hi, Mark.
Behind me, hundreds of cars are streaming out of Seoul on the Gyeongbu Expressway.
The traffic flow is slowly loosening up after reaching its daily peak at around noon…
but drivers still have a long road ahead of them.
Road authorities predict the nationwide congestion will only begin to ease sharply from eight
to nine pm this evening. If you were to set off from Seoul now… it
would take you an estimated five hours to get to Busan.
To the southwestern city of Gwangju it would take three-hours-and fifty minutes…
and just over four hours to Daegu. To the central city of Daejeon,… expect
to be sat in the car for two hours and ten minutes.
The Korea Expressway Corporation says more than four million people will be driving across
the nation today. Overall, more than 36 million Koreans will
be on the move during this five-day holiday,… that′s roughly three percent more than last
year. And four-fifths will travel by car.
MARK: Looking further ahead then,… how are traffic conditions expected to fare during
the rest of the holiday period? Well, the transport ministry says expressways
will be the most heavily congested on Sunday and Monday, the actual Lunar New Year′s
day. Roads will be jam-packed with cars on Sunday
morning. Officials say that′s when most drivers will
be heading out of Seoul to their hometowns. But compared to last year, traffic conditions
should be breezier for those driving from Seoul.
The average travel time is predicted to be one to two hours less this holiday.
However, on their return, drivers could spend up to 40 minutes longer on the roads
than they did the year before. The holiday traffic back into Seoul is expected
to peak on Monday afternoon, as families finish up their new year celebrations.
Road authorities forecast almost eight million people will be on the move on that day alone.
That′s all for now from me. I′ll be back with more updates during our next newscast
at 10PM. Back to you Mark.

Stephen Childs

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