One of Britain’s major roads connecting the north and south is shut for emergency repairs after the five metre gaping hole causes traffic chaos.
No one was injured in the collapse of the motorway, which is also three metres deep.
The northbound A1 between junctions 67 and 68 in Gateshead is expected to be closed all day.
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “At around 11.45pm on Saturday, 25 June, police were contacted by the Highways England reporting that a large sinkhole (5m wide and 3m deep) on the A1 near to the Lobley Interchange on the Northbound carriageway.
“This has resulted in the carriageway between Coal House (junction 67) and Lobley Hill (junction 68) being closed this morning as work takes place to fill the void found underneath the road.
“Nobody has been injured and officers are working closely with Highways England to assist with traffic management.
“Alternative routes for Northbound drivers are the A19, A184 or A194 depending on the destination.
“Please also allow extra time.
Northumbria Police have advised motorists to travel on the following diversions:
1. A1 Northbound diverted onto A690 then onto A19 towards Newcastle
2. A1 Northbound onto A194M near to Birtley Services
3. Take A19 to A184 into Newcastle or back onto A1
4. Coalhouse Roundabout through Team Valley Trading Estate and back onto A1
5. Come off at Eighton Banks (A167 Durham Road) through Gateshead to Tyne Bridge or A184
All routes are likely to be busy especially rejoining the A1.
HGVs are requested to plan to use either diversions 1 or 2 unless necessary for local deliveries.
A statement from Highways England said: “It will take significant resources and time to complete this repair.
“Road users are advised to allow plenty of extra time for their journey.”