UPGRADES to junction 28 of the M5 in Cullompton should reduce tailbacks which often reach the running carriageway of the motorway during rush hour.
Devon County Council contractors are widening the top of the northbound exit slip-road to improve the flow of vehicles turning in both the town and Honiton Road directions, at a cost of £160,000.
Work is finally being carried-out after Cullompton residents and councillors stressed the need to increase the capacity of the junction in order for it to cope with the extra traffic likely to be generated by the housing developments earmarked for the town.
Councillor John Berry, who represents the town at County Hall, said: "Upgrading the junction is most essential because of the volume of traffic using it in the morning rush hour – there are even queues at 8.15am. This is something we have got to get on top of and take into consideration if these new homes at Knowle Lane are built."
Housing developers are picking up the tab under a so-called section 106 agreement, which sees them provide money for infrastructure improvements.
Two years ago Millwood Homes, which is developing houses off Tiverton Road, offered £496,000 towards junction upgrades, which could also include traffic lights at the roundabout and southbound exit.
A spokesperson for the Highways Agency said the left-hand lane of the slip-road, which is currently cordoned off by cones, will be reinstated. The lane was originally closed because heavy goods vehicles had difficulty turning out of the junction.
Cllr Berry added: "Hopefully, when the left-hand lane reopens, the traffic will be able to filter into the correct lanes before they get to the top of the junction so it will allow for a better flow off the motorway."
A county council spokesman said this phase of improvements is expected to be complete within eight weeks.
The spokesman added: "Work is under way to widen the northbound off-slip to two lanes. Some kerbing is also being realigned at the roundabout to improve left turn movements.
"A second phase will introduce traffic signals on the northbound and southbound off-slips."