A bridge carrying the M5 over the River Exe has a safety defect that will require specialist repairs in the new year.
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The fractured bridge expansion joint plate was detected by a monitoring system on the Exe viaduct, leading to lane one of the southbound carriageway between junctions 30 and 31 near Exeter being closed for safety reasons.
The lane closure has caused significant delays during peak travel times so National Highways is advising drivers to allow extra time for their journeys.
Terry Robinson, National Highways’ engineering manager for the south west, said: “The bridge joint requires specialist contractors and materials to repair and given the safety critical nature of the defect, we have to keep the lane closure in place to protect the travelling public, prevent vehicle damage and protect the structure against further damage.
“We’re working to organise the repair as quickly as possible, we apologise for any inconvenience and thank drivers for their patience. In the meantime we ask people to be aware of delays, particularly around peak times, and to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journeys between junctions 29 and 31.”