A LORRY fire caused massive delays on the southbound carriageway of the M61 yesterday.

The blaze, at 8am, led to the carriageway being completely closed, with two lanes travelling northbound also shut.

Fire crews tackled the blaze, which started near Rivington Services between Junctions Eight and Six on the M61.

A fire service spokesman said the blaze started when the driver of the lorry, which was pulling a trailer containing 20 tonnes of pet food, heard a bang come from the engine compartment.

He pulled over and saw smoke.

A fire service spokesman said: "When we arrived the fire was well alight.

“We used three appliances to put the fire out “The fire started in the engine, which we believe had overheated.”

The northbound lanes and one southbound lane were reopened at 8.45am.

But the incident created delays of up to two hours southbound with one lane still closed at 4.15pm.

The motorway opened fully at 4.30pm The driver escaped the vehicle unhurt, according to a fire service spokesman.