SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Motorists experienced delays Thursday morning as police investigated two separate collisions involving multiple vehicles on I-81 northbound between the I-26 interchange and Colonial Heights/Fort Henry exit.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) SmartWay map indicates that a crash occurred near mile marker 59 at 7:14 a.m., blocking both lanes and shoulders and closing the nearby exit ramp.

A spokesperson with the Kingsport Police Department (KPD), however, clarified there were two different crashes in this area and advised drivers to take an alternate route.

“Traffic is extremely congested and will likely be so for the next few hours,” Tom Patton with KPD said. “Motorists are strongly encouraged to avoid the area and seek an alternate route. Anyone already in the immediate area is asked to slow down, exercise caution and patience, and obey all traffic instructions.”

Crews redirected traffic off I-81 N onto the I-26 interchange while police responded to the incidents. As of 10:45 a.m., the lanes have since reopened.

Possible injuries are unknown at this time.

News Channel 11 reached out to authorities for more details. This is a developing story; stay updated on-air and online at