Two people have been taken to hospital and one man arrested after a series of accidents on the A19 this morning.
The road was closed in both directions near Peterlee as Durham Constabulary dealt with four separate accidents which occurred within 15 minutes of each other.
Both carriageways are now open and traffic is starting to clear.
Durham Police say they dealt with a two-vehicle collision on the A19 northbound involving a Vauxhall Corsa and grey Seat Ibiza just prior to the A181 turn off at 7.30am; a collision involving two vans and a Mini on the southbound side of the A19 at Easington at 7.35am, after which one man was arrested on suspicion of drink driving; a collision on the northbound side of the A19 Peterlee, around a third of a mile before Blackhall, involving a silver Vauxhall Corsa and a silver Mercedes at 7.45am and a fourth collision involving a Transit Van and red Seat Ibiza at the same time.
All collisions have been cleared and traffic is returning to normal.
A North East Ambulance Services spokeswoman said the service had been called to the A19 at Bellows Burn Lane, opposite the Hutton Henry turn-off at 7.26am.
"We dispatched three ambulances and have taken two patients to University Hospital of North Tees.
"At 7.39am, we received a second call to the A19 near Castle Eden and dispatched one ambulance, but we were stood down at the scene."
Police say it is not believed anyone has been seriously hurt.
Witness Ashton Carter said: "I'm northbound on the way to Newcastle and there's two cars smashed up, one lane open.
"Then a bit further about a mile ahead, on the other side of the road there's two vans with the fronts smashed, three ambulances.
"Whole road is closed."
The Sunderland Echo, Hartlepool Mail and Shields Gazette's Safe A19 campaign is calling on the Government to carry out an inquiry into the road and put in measures to cut the number of collisions and delays.
Easington MP Grahame Morris, who has repeatedly called for action to improve the road, said: "How much longer will the Government ignore the needs of the North?
"The A19 is vital to the economic health of East Durham. We cannot afford our main economic highway to be repeatedly closed on a regular basis due to accidents.
"It hinders investment in our area when businesses see the main artery closed, frequent tailbacks and delays.
"For a government supposedly committed to a "Northern Powerhouse" I do not believe it is unreasonable to ask they consider road safety and management on the A19, and the economic consequences of accidents.
"We need to take steps to reduce the number of accidents and closures, as well as making our stretch of the A19 more resilient and able to cope when accidents do occur."
More than 1,100 people have already signed our petition. You can do so here.