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Traffic building as S. Koreans make long-delayed trips this Lunar New Year Updated: 2022-01-28 17:05:13 KST

On the eve of the Lunar New Year holiday, we are expecting to see traffic slowly build up this evening as South Koreans start heading to their hometowns to see relatives or enjoy a vacation.
Our Kim Do-yeon is out at the Seoul Tollgate the city's main gateway on the southern side.
Do-yeon, how's it looking there?

Good evening Conn-young I'm here at the Seoul tollgate as you can see behind me, the cars are backed up here.
The transport ministry says it's expecting nearly 4.8 million people to hit the road each day throughout the holiday that's nearly 29 million people in total over the next five days.
This is 17 percent more than last year, but still fewer than before the pandemic.
91 percent of people who are traveling this year said they will be taking their cars.
And that means the freeways will see some traffic.
As of 6 PM, however, the delays aren't too bad according to the Korea Expressway Corporation, the journey from Seoul to Busan was taking around 5 hours Seoul to Daejeon 2 hours and Seoul to Gangneung 2 hours and 40 minutes.
But the peak time for going out of Seoul is expected to be tomorrow morning, when the estimated travel time to Busan will be nearly 7 hours.
On the way back into Seoul, the peak seems to be next Tuesday.

Right now, of course, Korea is seeing its biggest surge of COVID-19 yet, and the government is asking people to stay home.
But it seems a lot of people are traveling anyway.

That's right, but this is the second Lunar New Year in the pandemic, and second time around for a number of other holidays too.
The general opinion, from what I can tell, is that people have put off their hometown visits for far too long.
I actually caught up with a few people at a nearby rest stop take a listen.

"I'm not too worried because, anyway, I'm using my own car. If I don't go down to Daegu during this holiday, I don't know when I can go."

"No, I still worry. But honestly, I heard that Omicron is less likely to result in severe illness despite being more transmissible. So that's why I'm less concerned."

That's certainly not to say they won't be following the virus prevention measures, and many are used to the rules, which were in place last year too.
For instance, from tomorrow, there will be no eating inside highway rest areas.
And people will be encouraged to eat in their cars if they have to.
This will be in effect until next Wednesday, the last day of this holiday.
That's all I have for now.
Back to you, Conn-young.
Reporter : tkim@arirang.com
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