Officers from the Major Collision Enquiry Team (MCET) would like to speak to anyone who saw the collision which took place at around 5.50am this morning at the entry slip road to junction 26 of the M62 westbound.
The circumstances of the collision are under investigation but it is currently believed the incident occurred after a Mercedes heavy goods vehicle towing a blue container with CMA CGM in large white letters on the side collided with a white Audi A5 while both vehicles were travelling in the same direction.
The occupants of the Audi, a 46-year-old man and a 43-year-old- woman, both believed to be from the Bishop Auckland area, were confirmed to have died at the scene as a result of injuries sustained in the incident.
Meanwhile the driver of the HGV, a 43-year-old man from North East Lincolnshire, was taken to hospital for minor injuries.
A full closure was put in place at junction 26 on the westbound carriageway for collision investigation work and it is anticipated this will be ongoing throughout much of the day.
Sgt Garry Alderson of the Major Collision Enquiry Team, said:
Clearly this was a very serious incident which has sadly resulted in the deaths of the man and woman travelling in the Audi.
We are conducting a full collision investigation at the scene and obviously this will take time given the seriousness of the incident.
I would advise drivers to avoid the area if at all possible while recovery work is underway and would ask anyone who saw the incident or either of the vehicles described shortly beforehand to contact the Major Collision Enquiry Team on 01924 293047.