Motorway and motorway (Switzerland)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Switzerland's expressway network from 2020

The motorways and motorways in Switzerland are roads operated by the federal government and, to a lesser extent, by individual cantons, which are reserved for motor vehicles that can reach at least 80 km / h. Swiss motorways and motorways are marked in green, the numbering consists of white numbers on a red background.

A list of all motorways and motorways in Switzerland can be found under List of motorways and motorways in Switzerland .

Delimitation of national roads

The motorway and road network in Switzerland does not correspond to the national road network in Switzerland. The latter includes all roads operated by the federal government - including those that are not only reserved for motor vehicles. The premise for inclusion in the national road network is of importance for the whole of Switzerland, including smaller connections.

An example of this is the federally operated Prättigauerstrasse N28 , which is classified as a main road and some sections of the route can also be used by non-motorized vehicles. It is of national importance as a winter-safe connection to the Lower Engadine . The Federal Roads Office is responsible for financing, operation, maintenance and expansion of national roads.

At the same time, conversely, there are also motorways and motorways that were built without federal aid and are therefore not part of the national road network or only became part of it later. The respective canton pays for the maintenance . They represent only a small part of the motorway and road network in Switzerland, but are only approved for motor vehicles and are labeled in accordance with the Swiss signaling regulations for motorways and motorways. Cantonal motorways and motorways are primarily to be found as relief roads in the densely populated Swiss Plateau. The Forchstrasse A52 or the highway to Toggenburg example, are operated cantons.

Definition, signaling and numbering

In the sense of a first-class national road, a motorway is always free of intersections, directionally separated and provided with at least two lanes in each direction. A motorway, on the other hand, is laid out in the sense of a 2nd class national road like motorways without intersections, but in contrast to motorways seldom separated in direction and often single-lane.

Signalization of motorways and motorways

The signposts for motorways and motorways in Switzerland are generally kept green. Entry and exit signals consist of a white pictogram on a green background - regardless of whether it is a cantonal or national motorway or road. Motorways are with the signal 4.01 motorway (white road with white bridge on a green background), motorways with the signal 4.03 Autostrasse (white car on a green background). signposted. From the signal, the corresponding maximum speed applies or ends, unless otherwise specified.

The signage rules are the same on both cantonal and national motorways and motorways (size of the signals, exit announcements, distance information to the nearest cities after entering, etc.).

It is not uncommon for motorways in sparsely populated areas to merge into motorways and thus to narrow the lanes. Well-known transitions from motorways to motorways of this type are the San Bernardino route (part of the A13 ) or the Gotthard road tunnel (part of the A2 ).

Entrance to a Swiss motorway

Numbering of the motorways and motorways

Today's numbering of motorways and motorways

It is therefore not surprising that a distinction is made with regard to the signaling, but the numbering (white digits on a red background) is used across the board for simplicity. For example, the A2road signaled as a road has both sections as a car road (the Gotthard road tunnel) and sections as a motorway (rest of the north-south connection). This so-called A-numbering is therefore used across all street classes. Based on the red and white A numbers, it can only be seen that it is a motorway or a road, but the exact state of development of the routes cannot be recognized.

Previous N numbering

The motorways and motorways belonging to the national road network have an N number in addition to the A number. This has a historical background and is now only used within the authorities to distinguish between national roads and cantonal roads. For external communication (map material, signaling, radio reports, etc.), only the A-numbering (e.g. A5) is used.

Until the end of 1996, motorways, motorways and main roads in the national road network had the same names and could not be distinguished from one another on the basis of these. In addition, in addition to the N-number of the project (N1b, N1c), the completed road occasionally received a second N-number (N20, N11), with which it was signposted. In order to avoid confusion, from the end of 1996 the N-numbering was only used by the authorities and in connection with the national road network. The motorways and motorways received a new A-numbering based on the old numbering. This was assigned functionally and assigned all the necessary numbers to sections that are used by several routes. All traffic signs have now been adapted to the new rules.


During the conversion, however, the nomenclature for cantonal routes and motorway feeder roads was neglected. Short sections operated by cantons are often numbered blue, like main roads. These are named individually by the cantons, which makes the overview difficult.


North portal of the San Bernardino tunnel (1969)
Construction of the Hunzenschwil connection (1967)

Motorway construction in Switzerland began relatively late with the increasing prosperity after the Second World War . In 1950, only 147,000 cars were registered in Switzerland. Within ten years, the stock grew three and a half times. The primary aim was to relieve the traffic in urban centers.

Construction of the Härkingen junction with the Belchen ramp (1967)

First highway

The Lucerne-South arterial road , which opened on June 11, 1955, is considered to be the first motorway in Switzerland . This four-lane road, which was for the first time free of intersections, served to bypass Horw and was intended to connect the city of Lucerne more quickly with central Switzerland and the tourist resorts of Bern. It led from today's connection between Lucerne and Kriens to Ennethorw and served as a four-lane bypass for the Horw community. Financing was provided by the Canton of Lucerne alone, without federal aid.

The street was considered an attraction from the start and was a pioneering achievement across Switzerland. Compared to today's standards, the road looked more like a comfortable road . The entrances were extremely short, and there were largely no markings, hard shoulders and crash barriers at this point. There was enough space for horse-drawn vehicles. The harmonious lines not only did not spoil the affected landscape, but actually enriched it, stated the newspaper Vaterland at the time. Car owners used the concrete runway to experience speeds that were not possible on normal roads, especially since there were no legally binding maximum speeds at that time . This section is still in operation today - albeit adapted to the present day - as part of the A2 . Due to the design, this piece is still considered to be the first motorway in Switzerland.

Referendum to improve the road network

In February 1956, the ACS and TCS submitted the popular initiative to improve the road network, which would allow at least half of all revenues from the mineral oil tax on fuels to be used for the construction of motorways - in particular for a west-east and north-south connection. suggests. On July 6, 1958, the federal government's counter-draft was adopted by the Swiss people with 85% yes-votes. On June 21, 1960, the federal law on national roads came into force, which transfers the authority to plan and build roads of national importance to the federal government. Article 2 of the law stipulates that the highest class of these roads is intended exclusively for use with motor vehicles, is only accessible at special junction points, should have separate lanes and should not cross other roads at the same level.

Construction of important sections of the national road network

On May 10, 1962, the Grauholzautobahn was opened as the first section of the N1 . This was therefore subordinate to the federal government for construction and maintenance. The eight-kilometer section serves to relieve the road through Zollikofen . As early as 1963, the first long stretch of the motorway followed, the Geneva - Lausanne section of the N1. On May 10, 1967, with the completion of the Oensingen – Hunzenschwil section between Bern and Lenzburg, an 85 km long section of the N1 was created. At that time it was the longest continuous motorway in Switzerland.

Access to the Gotthard road tunnel (2008)

In the years to come, numerous new sections followed, both at the cantonal level and in the national road network. The San Bernardino Tunnel was opened to traffic on December 1, 1967 , around two years after the breakthrough. The 6.6 km long road tunnel for the first time enabled a year-round connection for the southern Graubünden valleys Misox and Calanca valley to the capital Chur and, as part of the A13, connects eastern Switzerland with the southern side of the Alps and Ticino . In 1968 a section of the A3 followed near Freienbach, followed by further sections of the A1 in eastern Switzerland in the following years.

As early as 1965, the Federal Parliament decided to supplement the planning of the national road network with the Gotthard road tunnel . So far, traffic has been via the Gotthard Pass or by car loading through the Gotthard tunnel . Construction of the tunnel began in 1970, and after ten years of construction, the autostrasse could finally be opened on September 5, 1980.

Bypassing Zurich

The need to bypass the city of Zurich was also recognized early on . Nevertheless, this turned out to be a protracted problem. The so-called Zürcher Expressstrassen-Y was first included in the national road planning of 1960 with the Hardturm and Aubrugg – Letten – Brunau sections . The Federal Council approved the project in 1962 and specified it in more detail in a supplementary resolution in 1969. The coming from the south should Railway 3 in the city center near the main train station Zurich in the Highway 1 lead. The project soon met with fierce opposition and became the subject of heated political controversy in the 1970s.

In various popular petitions, the project was immediately rejected and postponed. To date, only the section of the A1 through the Milchbuck tunnel to Letten has been implemented as the A1L motorway, the section from Brunau via the Sihlhochstrasse to Wiedikon as the A3W motorway and the expansion of the Pfingstweidstrasse as an express road to the Hardbrücke. Until the opening of the Zurich northern bypass , the two sections of the A1 were only connected via Rosengartenstrasse and Hardbrücke; From the mid-1960s, traffic coming from the west and flowing south was routed from the Hardbrücke over the western bypass to Sihlhochstrasse, until the western bypass with the Uetliberg tunnel was opened in 2009 . From 1985, traffic from west to east was routed via the Zurich north bypass.

For the project, which calls for the A3 to be guided underground, the two tunnels under the main train station parallel to the Sihl were built during the construction of the Museumsstrasse station. They served as access to the construction site during the construction of the Löwenstrasse station .

Access to the two old tubes (1970) and the third tube (2004) of the Baregg Tunnel

In a statement to the Federal Office of Transport FEDRO , the Zurich government council demanded in June 2017 that the Zurich Expressstrasse-Y should be removed from the national road network. Rather, instead of the Y, the federal government should include a Zurich city tunnel in the planning. This connection under all of Zurich between the A3W and an A1 connection at Dübendorf -Neugut with half connection Sihlquai has been entered in the cantonal structure plan since 2007. These include the Adlisberg tunnel from Tiefenbrunnen and the Wehrenbachtobel tunnel from Burgwies as an underground feeder for the Gold Coast

Concept for the final expansion of the motorway and road network

Over the years, Switzerland's motorway and road network has been implemented as planned. Sections that were delayed and adjusted for a long time due to political resistance such as the clover leaf initiative , could be opened after the turn of the millennium. So that could Highway 5 between Solothurn -East and Biel / Bienne to the Expo 02 will be put into operation. On April 5, 2001, the section between Murten and Yverdon was opened as the last section of the A1 . This motorway is connected to the Payerne military airfield via a taxiway near Hall 5 and can be used as an additional take-off and landing runway if necessary, but this option has never been used since the motorway was built.

Bridge and tunnel at Choindez as part of the Transjurane (2008)

On May 4, 2009, the gap in the Zurich western bypass followed with the Uetliberg tunnel as the centerpiece. In the same year on November 14th, the last section of Autobahn 4 between Zug and Zurich went into operation for the time being . In spring 2017, the last section of the Transjurane , the A16 from Biel to Delle , was opened to traffic. Smaller sections are still outstanding as part of the expansion of the national road network, especially in Valais.

As of 2020, 400 km of cantonal roads, including numerous cantonal motorways and motorways, were added to the national road network as a result of the approval of the federal resolution on the creation of a fund for national roads and urban traffic (NAF). From this point on, responsibility for the expansion and maintenance of the affected roads is transferred to the Federal Roads Office (→  adding additional roads to the national road network ).

Expansion of motorways and motorways

Capacity expansion

In recent years, due to capacity bottlenecks, various existing motorway and road sections have been expanded and adapted. In 2004 the third tube of the Baregg Tunnel was put into operation. For many years, this was the bottleneck on the western approach to Zurich. From then on, traffic jams were relocated to the Limmattaler-Kreuz , so that the Zurich northern bypass with six-lane expansion and a third tube of the Gubrist tunnel is currently under construction. On June 6, 2016, the main work on expanding the northern bypass began. The opening is scheduled for 2022, after which the existing tunnels will be renovated by 2025.

A3W as part of the never realized Zürcher Expressstrassen-Y (2010)

In 2015, the section between the Härkingen and Wiggertal junction was widened to six lanes. In this area, the two most important motorways A2 and A1 use the same road, which leads to high loads at peak times. According to a new project, the A1 route between the Härkingen and Luterbach junctions could be expanded to six lanes from 2022 to 2030.

From 2009 to 2017, several entrances and exits in the canton of Aargau between the connections Aarau West and Birrfeld were extended with the help of the breakdown lane. This should make traffic on the motorway more fluid.

A third tube for the Belchen Tunnel is already under construction . This is to be put into operation by 2022. Other projects also include the city motorway in St. Gallen, the A1L near Schwamendingen and the expansion between Lausanne and Geneva.

Extension of the Gotthard road tunnel

One of the financially most comprehensive expansion plans concerns the construction of a second tube on the Gotthard road tunnel, which opened in 1980 . This is in need of renovation in the medium term, which would result in a multi-year block. In terms of a continuous, winter-safe road connection and increasing traffic safety, a concept consisting of the construction of a second tube and subsequent renovation of the existing tunnel was worked out. The concept was submitted to the Swiss electorate for voting on February 28, 2016. The proposal for the "Amendment of September 26, 2014 to the Federal Law on Road Transit Traffic in the Alpine Region (STVG) (renovation of the Gotthard road tunnel)" was adopted with 57% yes-votes. This cleared the way for the construction of a second tube, the renovation of the existing tunnel in single-lane traffic with a lateral hard shoulder and the later routing of the traffic through separate tubes. This improves security without increasing the existing capacity.

It is planned that a further tube will be excavated 70 meters next to the existing one. Important elements such as tunnel portals and ventilation shafts could be used together. An excavation of around 6.3 million tons of rock is forecast. At best, construction is planned to start in 2020. Then the shell could be completed by 2025. The opening of the second tube is planned for the end of 2027 at the earliest. From 2028 to 2030 the existing tube would be renovated, so that from 2030 traffic could then be routed through both tunnels.

Rules for driving on motorways and motorways

Motor vehicles with a minimum speed of 80 km / h (up to 2005 60 km / h) are allowed to drive on motorways and motorways . In addition, a toll is generally due on the motorways and motorways that are part of the national road network; this is collected for light motor vehicles and light trailers in the form of a motorway vignette. Motor vehicles with a total weight of 3.5 tonnes or more do not require a vignette to drive on motorways and motorways, as they are subject to the performance-based heavy vehicle tax  (HVF).

Motorway vignette 2010

Motorway vignette

In Switzerland, the vignette has been compulsory since 1985 on the motorways and motorways of the national road network. This toll obligation is settled in the form of an annual vignette , which is valid for 14 months. The vignette entitles you to drive on roads requiring a vignette from December 1st to January 31st of the calendar year following next. The vignette is tied to the vehicle. It must not be transferred to another vehicle. For this reason, every vehicle that drives on roads that are subject to tax with variable signs must be equipped with a valid vignette that has been attached in accordance with the regulations. The same goes for trailers. These must have a separate vignette.

The vignette can be purchased at rest stops, guarded border crossings, etc. The cost is 40  Swiss Francs (as of January 2018). Non-existent, incorrectly affixed or used with transfer film vignettes will result in a fine of 200 francs. A few sections of the national road network are exempt from the vignette requirement as a gesture of goodwill. Vehicles are allowed to travel between the Basel-St. Louis, Rheinfelden and Kreuzlingen drive the route between the customs office and the first exit (or in the opposite direction) without a vignette.

The plan to raise the fee for a 1-year vignette to 100 francs was rejected in a referendum in November 2013.

In Switzerland, the speed on motorways can be reduced to 60 km / h. In practice, this is the case with branches and construction sites.

Speed ​​limit

As early as 1965, a guideline speed was introduced on sections of motorways and motorways . From November 17, 1973 to March 17, 1974, a speed limit of 100 km / h was introduced on motorways on an experimental basis, which was then increased to 130 km / h. The definitive introduction of the limit of 130 km / h took place in 1976. Since January 1, 1985, the maximum speed still valid today has been 120 km / h . The limit of 120 km / h can be reduced to up to 60 km / h in accordance with Art. 108 Para. 5a SSV . The graduation is 10 km / h according to the SSV, in practice 20 km / h. A reduced maximum speed of 80 or 100 km / h often applies in the motorway tunnels and on stretches without hard shoulder.

Until 1989, the maximum speed on motorways was the same as on roads out of town with mixed traffic. In 1973 a general maximum speed of 100 km / h was introduced on such roads, which could be increased to 120 km / h by means of signaling. When the maximum speed was reduced from 100 km / h to 80 km / h on extra-urban roads in 1984, many motorways kept their maximum speed signal “100 km / h” or they were set up afterwards; an increase to 120 km / h was no longer permitted. In 1989 the Road Traffic Act was adapted by regulating the maximum speed on motorways separately. It is still 100 km / h today. The maximum speed is generally always signaled out of consideration for foreign road users (in the surrounding countries, a car road has no influence on the permitted maximum speed), although there are exceptions (e.g. the road from Airolo to the Gotthard Pass). A maximum speed of 80 km / h is common on routes with tunnel sections.

Photo gallery


  • In 1995 there was the longest traffic jam on the then N1 (today Autobahn 1 ) when, after several accidents in holiday traffic , the route between Bern and Niederbipp was blocked for 53 kilometers.
  • In November 2016, for the first time in the history of motorways and motorways in Switzerland, a section of the motorway was dismantled: With the Roveredo bypass , the A13 now runs through a tunnel instead of through the middle of the municipality. Previously, motorway routes had at most been reused and / or classified lower.
  • Various sections of the route can be used for military purposes, see National Road # Military importance for the military importance of Swiss motorways and motorways.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ First motorway section in Switzerland. Horw municipality, accessed on December 24, 2012 .
  2. 30 years of the main road Lucerne-South . In: Schweizerische Bauzeitung . tape 103 , no. 26 , 1985, pp. 664 ( digitized magazines ).
  3. 60 years ago: The first motorway still had space for pedestrians and horse-drawn vehicles . In: look . June 3, 2015 ( [accessed November 28, 2018]).
  4. ^ Federal popular initiative to improve the road network . Retrieved January 4, 2013 .
  5. List of federal referendums 35th legislature (1955–1959)
  6. SR 725.11 Federal Act on National Highways. Retrieved December 23, 2012 .
  7. ^ Opening of the Grauholz motorway in May 1962. (No longer available online.) Swiss radio and television , archived from the original on March 2, 2014 ; Retrieved December 23, 2012 .
  8. ^ Gotthard road tunnel: Chronology. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on July 5, 2012 ; Retrieved January 4, 2013 .
  9. Stefan Hotz: The Y is dead, long live the city tunnel | NZZ . In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung . June 22, 2017, ISSN  0376-6829 ( [accessed November 28, 2018]).
  10. All around, instead of through the middle of Zurich . In: SWI . ( [accessed on November 28, 2018]).
  11. Third tube for the Gubrist - A1 north bypass Zurich. Retrieved November 28, 2018 .
  12. Six tracks for CHF 886 million: an expansion for the next generation . In: az Solothurn newspaper . ( [accessed on November 28, 2018]).
  13. Refurbishment and widening - These are the largest construction sites on Swiss motorways . In: Swiss Radio and Television (SRF) . April 4, 2017 ( [accessed November 28, 2018]).
  14. 2. Gotthard tube - people say yes to the second Gotthard tube . In: Swiss Radio and Television (SRF) . February 26, 2016 ( [accessed November 28, 2018]).
  15. Federal Roads Office FEDRO: Second Gotthard road tube . ( [accessed on November 28, 2018]).
  16. Second Gotthard tube: These are the first key data about the tunnel . In: look . October 25, 2017 ( [accessed November 28, 2018]).
  17. Art. 14 NSAG, SR 741.71
  18. 10 questions about the 2018 motorway vignette: You have to know that . In: look . January 23, 2012 ( [accessed November 28, 2018]).
  19. EZV Admin: Motorway tax . (PDF) Retrieved November 28, 2018 .
  20. Motorway vignette - Vignette still costs 40 francs . In: Swiss Radio and Television (SRF) . November 22, 2013 ( [accessed November 28, 2018]).
  21. Simple query servant, maximum speed on motorways , answer from the Federal Council.
  22. New Roveredo bypass opened. November 7, 2016. SRF Swiss Radio and Television. On, accessed on December 6, 2019.

Web links

Commons : Motorways in Switzerland  - collection of images, videos and audio files