A white VW Golf and a grey Ford Kuga were involved in the incident shortly after 1.15am on Sunday, May 22 on the northbound carriageway, close to J62 Carrville.
Durham Constabulary said a woman, who was a passenger in the Ford Kuga, sustained serious injuries.
Three other occupants of the vehicle suffered minor injuries.
A man in his 20s has been arrested in connection with the incident and remained in police custody on Sunday afternoon.
The incident shut the northbound lane for several hours between junctions 61, at Bowburn, and 62, at Carville.
It was to allow collision investigators to work at the scene and for the barrier to be repaired.
No-one else was injured and a full investigation is underway.
Durham Constabulary earlier urged the public to refrain from sharing photos of the incident.
The police are also appealing for anyone who witnessed the collision to call Durham Constabulary on 101, quoting incident reference 37 of May 22.