|Bundesstrasse 281 in Germany|
|Operator:||Federal Republic of Germany|
|Start of the street:||Ice field|
|End of street:||Mittelpöllnitz|
|Overall length:||100 km|
|B 281 in Schmiedefeld|
The federal highway 281 (abbreviation: B 281 ) is a German federal highway in Thuringia . It connects the A 73 near Eisfeld over the Thuringian Slate Mountains , Saalfeld and the Orlasenke with the A 9 near Triptis , over 100 kilometers in length in the southeast of the country . In addition to local traffic, the B 281 also serves long-distance traffic to and from Saalfeld and has therefore been expanded since reunification, especially in the eastern section of the route, which is used by around 10,000 vehicles daily between Saalfeld and the A 9. The traffic density of the western section through the mountains was almost 5,000 vehicles a day in 2015.
With a peak height of around 850 meters above sea level between Steinheid and Neuhaus am Rennweg , the B 281 is one of the highest mountain pass roads and the most important remaining pass road over the Thuringian Forest and Slate Mountains, after the crossings further west were replaced by the tunnels along the A 71 . After the opening of the border with Bavaria in the course of reunification and the opening of the A 73 in 2002 (south of Eisfeld) and 2008 (north of Eisfeld), the road's importance for traffic increased significantly.
Eisfeld - Saalfeld
The B 281 begins southwest of Eisfeld at a roundabout with the B 89 , where there is a connection in the direction of Hildburghausen , Coburg and Sonneberg . Then it leads as a bypass to the west and north around the city with a connection to the A 73 , junction Eisfeld-Nord. The only other place in the Werra valley follows Sachsenbrunn with the other districts of Schirnrod and Saargrund . Here begins the western ramp up to the plateau of the Thuringian Slate Mountains , which runs through the Saar valley up to Siegmundsburg and overcomes around 260 meters in altitude with a few switchbacks . In the following section, the road runs parallel to the Rennsteig and the watershed between the Rhine and Elbe on the ridge of the mountains over the towns of Limbach and Steinheid to Neuhaus am Rennweg , the largest city in the Thuringian Slate Mountains. From here it first goes down into the valley of the light through the elongated street village of light , where the B 281 passes into the valley of the Piesau and rises again a little. A winding course leads through the villages of Schmiedefeld , Reichmannsdorf , Hoheneiche and Arnsgereuth on the plateau .
In the subsequent Arnsgereuther valley lies the east ramp, which leads down from the slate mountains into the Saale valley, overcoming around 290 meters of altitude. Serious truck accidents have occurred in this area in recent years. For example, trucks crashed through the guardrail and down steep slopes due to insufficient braking power. A truck drove into a building at the entrance to Saalfeld. A protective wall and an emergency lane were built to protect the residents and drivers .
Saalfeld is reached in the area of the fairy grottoes . Originally the B 281 led over Sonneberger Strasse into the old town, later it was relocated west to Melanchthonstrasse. Then the B 281 leads north out of the city onto the newly built northern bypass, together with the B 85 . With around 16,000 vehicles per day, this section is the most frequented in the entire course.
The Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan 2030 provides for two expansion measures in this section. The urgent need includes the western bypass of Saalfeld, which is to lead from the fairy grottoes via Beulwitz to federal highway 85 in order to relieve the remaining inner city section from through traffic. As a second measure - if there is still little chance of implementation - a complete re-routing is planned for the section west of Neuhaus am Rennweg to east of Reichmannsdorf. The route is to run south of the old route and relieve the numerous narrow local passages in this section and improve the connections in the direction of Sonneberg (through new connections to the south of Lauscha and in the Hasenthal area ). The difficult topography as well as the ecological risks from leading through previously uncut forests are problematic. Originally, the state of Thuringia even registered a completely new B 4n for the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan 2030, which was supposed to lead from Sonneberg- Köppelsdorf to the east of Ernstthal . However, this was not included due to the lack of profitability.
Saalfeld - A 9 (Mittelpöllnitz)
The eastern section of the B 281 is one of the most important federal road connections in Thuringia and provides the connection to the A 9 for long-distance traffic . With around 10,000 vehicles per day, the traffic density is correspondingly high, so some sections have been expanded to four lanes. Furthermore, longer sections (to Unterwellenborn and again from Neustadt) were dedicated as motorways and were re-routed after 1990.
East of Saalfeld, the B 281 leads on a new route past Gorndorf through the facilities of the Thuringia steelworks (former Maxhütte Unterwellenborn ) over the saddle between Saale and Orla into the wide valley of the Orlasenke . On the saddle is the last remaining level crossing with the Leipzig – Probstzella railway line , which ensures regular traffic obstructions and whose removal is therefore requested by local actors. This is followed by the through-roads of Rockendorf and Krölpa , for which a northern bypass is stipulated in the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan 2030 in urgent need. In the urban area of Pößneck , the B 281 has already been relocated to the north, from the old main road into the Aue der Kotschau . A more extensive northern bypass is also planned here in the further requirements of the federal transport route plan. To the east of Pößneck, the B 281 follows the valley of the Orla to Neustadt an der Orla , which is bypassed by a southern bypass that has been converted into an expressway. The Orlatalbrücke and the Siechenbach Viaduct are larger structures in this area. In the eastern section from Neustadt via the A 9 to Mittelpöllnitz , the B 281 was completely re- routed after 1990 and the motorway connection in Triptis was expanded to become a full clover. The B 281 ends at Mittelpöllnitz and turns into Bundesstraße 2 , which continues in the direction of Weida . The branch of the B 2 leading to Schleiz was downgraded to a state road.
The federal road 281a led from Brno via Crock and Hirschendorf to Sachsenbrunn and was around seven kilometers long. It was set up in GDR times to move long-distance traffic further away from the restricted area on the inner-German border and to improve the connection between the district town of Suhl and the district town of Neuhaus am Rennweg . With the change in traffic flows after reunification and the construction of the Eisfeld bypass until 2008, the connection became superfluous and was canceled as a separate number. The western section was downgraded to a district road, the eastern section was integrated into the regular B 281 as a feeder to the Eisfeld bypass.