A congested motorway north of Christchurch was closed briefly tonight after a smoky grass fire on the roadside.

The Fire Service received multiple calls around 4.30pm to the fire between the Waimakariri River bridge and Belfast on the Northern Motorway.

The smoke was drifted across the busy commuter road and making driving through the area hazardous.

Part of Main North Rd was closed briefly and the southbound motorway reduced to one lane while two fire pumps and two tankers got it under control.

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Brooklands Volunteer Fire Brigade stayed at the scene to dampen down any hot spots.