Several army personnel were visible at the scene of the northbound crash in the immediate aftermath, with debris strewn across the motorway along with severely damaged vehicles.
All the emergency services, including an air ambulance, attended the scene of the accident and Durham Constabulary said in the aftermath that there appeared to have been fatalities.
A spokeswoman for the North East Ambulance Service previously confirmed that two people had been taken to the University of North Durham Hospital.
Seven fire crews were sent to the scene as well as a heavy rescue unit.
Officers have appealed for motorists to hand over any dashcam footage of the crash.
The road is expected to remain closed in both directions on Friday between Junction 60 (Bradbury) and Junction 62 (Durham).
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