The city's Westlink jammed up following a breakdown under the Broadway roundabout, while on the M1 a lorry shed its load on the main carriageway.
Belfast Harbour Police were also called in to direct traffic after a serious accident on the motorway, while an evening performance by top Scots funnyman Kevin Bridges at the SSE Arena also contributed to the mayhem.
But fuming motorists weren't laughing, many taking to social media to vent their anger.
Laura McNally tweeted: "Took me 30 minutes to do 1 mile on Newtownards road... car at the bottom blocking the left lane then the rest is explained by Kevin Bridges... thank you!"
Titanic Quarter was also heavily congested. Software quality consultant Rob McConnell posted: "Traffic at a standstill again in TQ. Not conducive to running a business or retaining staff! If only common sense could prevail and harbour police take some initiative to better manage?"
Larne man Stephen McAlister fumed: "It took me two and a half hours to get from Newcastle to Larne. Left Newcastle at 3.30 and got home at 6."
Last year, research from TomTom found drivers spend around 200 hours a year on the roads around Belfast - meaning motorists lose an estimated 25 working days behind the wheel. Average journeys in Belfast were 43% longer than they should be, the satnav firm said.
The congestion hits the local economy hard, with the total cost of gridlock to Belfast alone in 2017 estimated at £140m, according to a study by transport analytics firm INRIX.
The A1 - Upper Lisburn Road and Belfast Road - southbound from College Gardens in Belfast was the sixth worst congested in the UK, with drivers each spending 49 hours in gridlock last year, according to INRIX. The worst five were in London.
The Ormeau Road heading into Ann Street was just three places behind Belfast's A1.