Motorists were facing traffic chaos on the M6 northbound through Staffordshire, and on surrounding main roads, throughout the day today, due to emergency repairs to the carriageway. The latest predictions are that the motorway is unlikely to reopen before 4pm.
Two lanes were shut northbound after junction 12, first thing this morning after a routine check revealed serious damage to the road surface.
And the northbound carriageway was closed entirely at 9am.
It meant stationary traffic, queues back to junction 9 at Wednesbury and delays of up to three hours.
A diversion sent traffic from junction 12 onto the A5 westbound to the A449 at Gailey to rejoin the M6 northbound at junction 13.
Motorists reported stop-start traffic on the A449 as far south as Brewood and also on the A34 around Cannock as drivers tried to find alternative routes.
A Highways Agency spokeswoman said the check had found that a large area of road surface was crumbling. The cause has not yet been established but it it likely to e due to wear and tear.
The spokeswoman emphasised that contrary to Twitter rumours, there is no sinkhole!
"We are very sorry for the problems being caused to motorists, but we had to shut the carriageway for everyone's safety while emergency repairs are carried out," she added.