Drivers faced up to 13 miles (20km) of tailbacks after a crash shut the M6 in Staffordshire and Cheshire.
All four lanes were shut northbound between junctions 15 at Stoke-on-Trent and 16 for Crewe after the crash at about 13:00 BST.
Three out of four lanes were also earlier closed on the southbound carriageway.
Highways England said the motorway fully reopened at about 16:30 but warned motorists about long delays.
By 19:00 BST, traffic had returned to normal.
The Sentinel newspaper reported the crash involved a motorcyclist going into the central reservation.
It is not yet known if there were any injuries.
Musician Ten Tonnes tweeted he would be unable to get to the Neighbourhood Weekender festival in Warrington where he had been due to perform.
The standstill traffic led to people getting out of their cars on the northbound carriageway, before being asked by to return to their vehicles as the lanes began to reopen.
The A500 was also earlier closed southbound between the A519 Hanchurch interchange and junction 15 on the M6, meaning traffic coming from Stoke-on-Trent was unable to get on to the M6 in either direction.
Debbie Young, Conservative councillor for Chalford in Gloucester, earlier tweeted she had been stuck in traffic for two hours.