THE M62 was closed in both directions this afternoon as two cars caught fire after a crash.

Emergency services shut the motorway in both directions between junction 11 at Birchwood and junction 12 at Eccles due to the blaze, which started shortly after 1pm.

While the fire having started after an accident on the eastbound carriageway, westbound traffic was also halted due to smoke blowing across the motorway.

Warrington Guardian:

The M62 westbound was reopened at around 1.45pm, while the motorway was reopened eastbound at around 2.30pm.

And while one lane remained shut, the carriageway was fully reopened at around 4pm.

But delays of an hour-and-a-half remain heading into the evening rush hour, with eastbound queues tailing back more than eight miles to junction nine at Winwick.

Four miles of queues were previously reported on the westbound carriageway, with delays estimated at around half an hour.

Fire engines, police and paramedics all attended the scene this afternoon.