Police closed the M61 in both directions between junction 9 (Clayton Brook) and the junction for the M6 at approximately 5.50pm on Monday (August 1).
Congestion was building in the area and officers advised motorists to plan alternative routes if possible.
“Please be patient and we will open the carriageway as soon as possible,” a spokesman for Lancashire Police said.
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National Highways confirmed all lanes reopened at around 6.25pm but heavy congestion remained in the area.
Lancashire Police have been approached for more information about the incident.