The N49 has the look and feel of a motorway for motorists, but it still has traffic lights at regular intervals. This means that traffic going at high speed, may have to brake hard - and that drivers need to be on the alert. This is where things went wrong recently.
At the Celieplas in Maldegem (East Flanders), a truck driver failed to notice a traffic jam at the lights, crashing into a line of cars. Four people got killed. The so-called "express road", linking Antwerp to the coast, has more of these black spots. However, this particular one will be closed as from October, local municipalities decided.
The traffic lights will disappear and traffic will no longer be able to leave the motorway there. At the same time, local residents will no longer be able to cross the motorway at that point, or to get onto it via the intersection. At a later stage, a bridge will be installed to allow at least cyclists and pedestrians to get across.
In the longer term, more of these crossroads will disappear, to turn the N49 into a "real" motorway without traffic lights.