Taunton is the historic county town of Somerset (though the county itself is named after Somerton) and as a result is an important local hub for transport. The M5 and A358 are now the only Primary Routes, but the A38 was once primary, and the A361 ran through the northern area of the town. With the coming of the North Devon Link Road, however, the A361 was renumbered B3227, A358 and A3259, only regaining its former number at a junction with the A38.
Despite having been bypassed by the M5, Taunton is still plagued with traffic problems, although much of this is now local traffic. The A38 still makes it way through the town centre, and is signposted as the first step of the route to Exeter and Bristol, with Exeter traffic being directed to the Wellington turn-off on the M5, J26. This is likely because Taunton's junction with the M5 is congested as a lot of traffic wishes to use the A358, an important local road as it links the town to Yeovil and the A303.
Some new roads have been proposed in the Taunton area, most notably the Taunton Third Way, with a number of bypasses of the outlying villages and an upgrade to the notorious Creech Castle junction.
Before the M5 or A361 North Devon Link Road had even been thought of, Taunton only had three A roads. The A38 passed to the east and south of the town, the A361 along its northern fringes and the A358 went through the middle from NW to SE, multiplexing with both as it went.
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