Expressways were clogged Friday with travelers planning to spend their annual Bon summer holidays in their hometowns and at resorts, as well as those returning to urban areas from vacation destinations.
It is expected that the congestion on expressways by returnees to the urban areas will continue through Monday while that of air and railway transportation will peak Sunday.
Expressways from Tokyo were congested Friday morning, with a 29-km traffic jam near the Higashi Matsuyama interchange of the Kan-Etsu Expressway in Saitama Prefecture as of 7 a.m. and a 19-km jam around the Sagamiko interchange on the Chuo Expressway in Kanagawa Prefecture as of 9 a.m., the Japan Road Traffic Information Center said.
Expressways to major cities were also packed with people returning home, with a 12-km jam on the Tomei Expressway in Shizuoka Prefecture and an 11-km jam seen near the Kyoto Minami interchange of the Meishin Expressway.
Traffic congestion on expressways could be among the worst in history for the Bon season due to a trial toll-free program that began in late June.
The operator foresees heavy traffic across the nation, especially Saturday and Sunday, due to a discount program allowing motorists to travel expressways with a maximum toll of ¥1,000 for an unlimited distance on weekends and national holidays.
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