Motorists faced traffic chaos on the M6 northbound through Staffordshire, and on surrounding main roads, throughout much of the day today, due to emergency repairs to the carriageway.
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.
The motorway finally reopened at around 3.30pm, but queues were slow to clear and knock-on delays on the A34 and A449 persisted into the late afternoon.
At times during the day there was 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 and A34 around Cannock as drivers tried to find alternative routes.
A Highways Agency spokeswoman said the routine check had found that a large area of road surface was crumbling. The cause has not yet been established but it it likely to be due to wear and tear.
The spokeswoman emphasised that contrary to Twitter rumours, there was no sinkhole!