The E17 highway awoke to chaos on Friday after a truck transporting live cows tilted over near Ghent, leading to serious disruptions and to a second crash hours later.
The truck carrying 32 cows tilted over at around 3:00 AM on Friday, with reports indicating that several animals died as a result of the incident.
A second crash between at least two trucks took place shortly before 7:00 AM at the tail of the ensuing traffic jam, with officials reporting injuries among those involved.
Grote problemen op de #E17 in Gentbrugge! Daar ligt een vrachtwagen met koeien gekanteld op de weg. Voor de takeling moeten alle dieren overgeladen worden. Er is slechts één rijstrook open. Nu al 5km stilstaand verkeer richting Kortrijk. Hinder zal nog uren duren! pic.twitter.com/ahRkt84CSt
The incident led to traffic jams near Gentbrugge, which started adding up at around 6:00 AM, with officials at the Flemish Traffic Centre said drivers would wake up to a “very difficult” morning rush hour.
A single lane on the road remains open to traffic, with traffic officials saying there were already 5 kilometres of traffic jams in the direction of Kortrijk by 6:00 AM.
The animals involved in the accident must be transported off-site, a complex operation which can take up to several hours.
The traffic centre encourages motorists to avoid the E17 and take alternative routes instead, advising those driving to Ghent to pass through Brussels and those heading to the coast from Antwerp to take the E34.