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Sowton Interchange

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Sowton Interchange
Location Map ( geo)
Exeter District - The M5 Motorway (C) Lewis Clarke - Geograph - 3490955.jpg
Cameraicon.png View gallery (10)
Sowton, Exeter, Devon
Highway Authority
National Highways
Junction Type
Roads Joined
M5, A30, A3015
Junctions related to the A3015

The Sowton Interchange, junction 29 of the M5, is the first of two junctions between the M5 and A30 (the other being Pearce's Hill). Between the two junctions, the A30 multiplexes with the M5. It also connects to the old A30, now A3015, which leads into Exeter city centre.

Between here and junction 30, the M5 is D4M, with a dedicated lane between the two junctions.

Early proposal from 1969

The earliest known layout for the junction is from 1969 when a roundabout interchange was planned. At the same time the favoured location for Exeter Services was on the southwest corner of the junction.

First stage of intended full layout of current junction prior to dualling of A30

By the middle of 1970 plans were made to dual the A30 between the M5 and Honiton. This called for a redesign of the junction to allow uninterrupted movements between the M5 and A30 east. Two loops would be provided on the western side of the junction allowing traffic on the northbound carriageway to get on and off. Collector/Distributor lanes were planned to link the loops together, to prevent weaving.

Initial proposal for A30 dualling

The original proposal for the A30 dualling was for the an all-purpose road with an additional junction just to the east at Blackhorse. Sowton Interchange would remain essentially the same as in the original plans.

A30 motorway Scheme A

By 1972 consideration was given to constructing the A30 as a motorway. This would mean prohibited traffic being unable to use the new road so alternative arrangements had to be made to enable this traffic to travel between Blackhorse and Exeter. This scheme allows that traffic to travel through the middle of the junction by means of the former A30. However, it does mean through A30 traffic has to use Blackhorse Interchange to continue into Exeter.

A30 motorway Scheme B

This option for the motorway scheme overcomes the main shortcoming of Scheme A in that through A30 traffic can access Exeter and the M5 without having to use Blackhorse Interchange. A separate local access road is provided to the south of the junction allowing prohibited traffic to travel between Blackhorse and Exeter. This scheme performed the highest and was therefore the recommended option and borehole records taken at the time correspond with this junction layout.

Despite all this the A30 improvement was never constructed and the only part of the junction that was built was the northbound offslip and the southbound onslip giving freeflowing movements between the A30 and M5 south. The links to the M5 north were never built even though all the evidence suggests the second loop would be built as part of the first stage. Plans to dual the A30 re-emerged in the Roads For Prosperity white paper of 1989. This differed from the 1970s proposals by running to the south of the existing road and there was emphasis on providing full access at the junction to allow movements between the M5 and Exeter which was never seen as important in the 1970s. When this opened in 1999 it introduced traffic signals to the existing M5 to A30 east movement breaking the completely freeflowing conditions which had existed for the previous 24 years.


Route To Notes


The MIDLANDS, Taunton, Bristol


The SOUTH WEST, Plymouth, Torquay, Okehampton


Honiton Formerly signed to London (via A303 and M3)


Exeter City Centre Former A30


Sowton Interchange
Related Pictures
View gallery (10)
Sowton Interchange later proposal.pngA30 Honiton Exeter Motorway Scheme A.jpgSowton Interchange 1970 A30 scheme.pngSowton Interchange 1972 Scheme A.pngSowton Interchange 1972 Scheme B.png
Other nearby junctions
Junctions on the M5
M6 (8) Ray Hall • 1 West Bromwich • 2 Oldbury • 3 Quinton • 4 Lydiate Ash • 4A Catshill • 5 Rashwood • 6 Warndon • 7 Crookbarrow • 8 Strensham • 9 Ashchurch • 10 Piffs Elm • 11 Golden Valley • 11A Brockworth • 12 Junction 12 • 13 Stroudwater • 14 Falfield • 15 Almondsbury • 16 Almondsbury Rdbt • 17 Cribbs Causeway • 18 & 18A Lawrence Weston • 19 Gordano • 20 Clevedon • 21 St Georges • 22 Edithmead • 23 Dunball • 24 Huntworth • 25 Blackbrook • Black Brook • 26 Chelston • 27 Tiverton Parkway • 28 Cullompton • 29 Sowton • 30 Sandygate • 31 Pearce's Hill
Junctions on the A30
London -
Henlys Roundabout • Hatton Cross • Terminal 4 Roundabout • Clockhouse Roundabout • The Bull Dog • Crooked Billet • Runnymede Interchange • Runnymede Roundabout • Egham Hill Roundabout • Black Dam Roundabout • Hackwood Road Roundabout • Winchester Road Roundabout • Brighton Hill Roundabout • Kempshott Roundabout • Hatch Warren Roundabout • Dummer • Popham • Bullington Cross • Lopcombe Corner • St Marks Roundabout • Royal Chase Roundabout • Ivy Cross Roundabout • Bellmans Cross • Hospital Roundabout • Horsey Roundabout • Quicksilver Roundabout • Bunfield Hollow Roundabout • Bellmans Cross • Southay Cross • Devonshire House • Cheneys Farm Interchange • Langford Junction • Turks Head Junction • Pattesons Cross Junction • Iron Bridge Junction • Daisymount Junction • Country House Interchange • Pound Corner • Blackhorse Interchange • Sowton Interchange
Exeter -
Land's End
Pearce's Hill • Alphington • Fingle Glen • Woodleigh • Whiddon Down • Tongue End • Meldon • Sourton Cross • Stowford Cross • Liftondown • Tavistock Road Junction • Pennygillam • Trebursye • Kennards House • Two Bridges • Plusha • Fivelanes • Cannaframe • Bolventor • Temple Tor • Temple • Preeze Cross • Cardinham Downs • Callywith • Carminow Cross • Innis Downs • Victoria • Highgate Hill • Fraddon • Summercourt • Mitchell • Carland Cross • Boxheater • Chybucca • Chiverton Cross • Scorrier • Avers • Tolvaddon • Treswithian • Loggans Moor • St Erth Roundabout • Newtown Roundabout • Chy-An-Mor • Branwell Lane • Chyandour • Heamoor • Mount Misery

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