Police expect record traffic over Chuseok holiday

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Police expect record traffic over Chuseok holiday

The National Police Agency is currently finalizing its traffic control plans for the upcoming five-day Chuseok holiday, expecting record traffic this year.

The police and the Korea Expressway Corporation estimated that approximately 4.05 million cars would hit the roads per day during the holiday, a 1 percent increase from last year. Officials expect traffic to peak on Sept. 8, the day of Chuseok, with 5.04 million cars.

Traffic in the capital area is expected to number around 782,000 cars, a 2.1 percent increase from last year’s 766,000.

The plan covers not only the detouring of migratory traffic during the celebration period, but also the prevention of traffic congestion caused by consumers visiting markets and department stores in preparation for the country’s biggest holiday.

Starting today, police officers will be dispatched to control traffic around malls, markets and department stores, where large crowds are expected, as well as cemeteries, with high numbers of early visitors anticipated.

The police agency is also temporarily permitting parking around traditional markets in an attempt to facilitate stopovers by shoppers to the less popular areas.

When the large-scale holiday traffic picks up on Sept. 5, the agency will employ more than 600 of its employees to congested sections on the expressways.

The police have already pinpointed 65 frequently used sections on Korea’s 18 expressways - covering a total of 949.9 kilometers (520 miles) - to closely monitor and easily control traffic.

Driving on the shoulder of the highway is allowed on some chronically congested sections, such as the Seoul-Busan Expressway between Dongtan Junction in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, and the Giheung Interchange in Yongin, Gyeonggi.

Police officers will block off some highway interchanges according to traffic conditions.

The police are also planning to facilitate transportation by extending the duration of bus-only lane operation on the Seoul-Busan Expressway, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sept. 6 and from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. the next day.

Another priority for police is to eliminate factors that may contribute to congestion.

To do so, 6,722 policemen in 17 helicopters and 2,023 patrol cars will be dispatched to crack down on bad conduct on the expressways, such as driving on the shoulder of the road or in bus-only lanes without a legitimate rationale.

Traffic information, including real-time traffic conditions, CCTV display and accident information, will be provided during the holiday through the website www.utis.go.kr or a mobile application in Korean provided by the National Police Agency.

BY KIM BONG-MOON [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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