The A1 northbound carriageway near Newcastle is closed this morning as work takes place to fill a void found underneath the road.
The void – identified as an old shallow mine working - was discovered while the road was closed for overnight roadworks.
Travellers making their way back to Northumberland are warned that the road is closed between Coal House (junction 67) and Lobley Hill (junction 68) and drivers are advised to avoid the area as there is expected to be sever congestion.
Highways England and its contractors are working to repair the carriageway so it is safe for road users. The hole which was identified as an old mining shaft by an expert last night is around 3 metres deep and approximately 5 metres wide and covers all lanes of the carriageway.
Rob Beckitt, duty operations manager at Highways England, said: "We are currently repairing the damage through filling the void with concrete; this will then need to set before the carriageway can be resurfaced and safely reopened to traffic."
Early expectation is that the road will remain closed for at least today, possibly longer.
“Safety is our top priority; we need to repair the carriageway and ensure it is totally safe before drivers use it," said Mr Beckitt. “We are doing all we can to carry out this work as quickly as possible and thank drivers for their patience.
"A diversion is in place at junction 67, with drivers advised to follow the solid triangle when leaving at the junction to pick up the local route through the Team Valley trading estate and re-join the A1 at junction 68. However, it is expected that this diversion will be extremely congested and drivers are advised to avoid the area if possible, however any drivers who need to use the route are advised to leave extra time for their journeys."
Highways England provides live traffic information via its website (www.highways.gov.uk/traffic-information).