|Location Map ( geo)|
|To:||Shillingford Abbott (SU468254)|
|Via:||Countess Wear Bridge|
|Distance:||4.7 miles (7.6 km)|
|Route outline (key)|
The Exeter Bypass was an important prewar bypass on a major arterial route, in this case the A38. However, it became a victim of its own success and became a notorious bottleneck in its own right for holiday traffic heading to Devon and Cornwall until the M5 was completed in 1977.
It started just west of Pinhoe and branching off the old route into the city to the south, partly following the course of the original A378, and partly on new build, including a bridge over the A30 (now B3183). It crossed an upgraded Countess Wear Bridge over the River Exe, and multiplexed briefly with the A379 on the other side before joining back up with the A38.
The bypass was constructed in three sections. The section from Pinhoe to the A30 opened in 1935, with the section from the A30 to the A379 opening later in the year. The final southern section from the A379 to the A38 opened in 1938.
The old road through the city was initially renumbered as the A3085.
The bypass was largely constructed as single carriageway, and consequently became unable to cope with the increasing vehicular traffic during the 1950s and 1960s, particularly over Countess Wear. This led to the construction of the M5 in the 1970s, with a new bridge over the Exe further downstream.
Unlike other contemporary bypasses (such as the Winchester Bypass), virtually all of the old Exeter Bypass still exists as part of a local through route, and continues to be congested.
The built Exeter Bypass is not to be confused with the unbuilt 1970s Exeter Northern Bypass, designed to link the A30 and the M5.