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Local bypass of the B 14 from Winnenden with the Leutenbach tunnel .
Remnants of an avenue on the A 369 near Vienenburg ; originally the B 4 ran into the town here . The later motorway construction was initially a pure bypass.

A bypass (Germany) or a bypass (Austria, Switzerland) is a road that is intended to relieve a location of road traffic , in particular long-distance traffic or through traffic , and to improve the flow of traffic .

By-pass roads are either designed in a ring shape or lead past the town center on one side . In the latter case, they are often named according to their orientation (e.g. north bypass / north bypass ).

The topic of adding these new routes to the long-established road network came up in the early 1950s.

Partial bypass / partial bypass

In contrast to a bypass, a partial bypass (Germany) or a partial bypass (Switzerland) does not bypass the entire location; Instead, the road within the village will be relocated to a new route , which will allow through traffic to pass through the village more easily. Partial bypasses are built when a complete bypass is not economically or technically sensible. The planning of a suburb bypass is closely linked to the urban planning of the respective locality.

The clasp that connects two main axes must be distinguished from a partial bypass.

Influencing traffic flows

Originally, villages developed on traffic routes because trade , as a prerequisite for developing communities, is not possible without suitable traffic routes. What was initially primarily a locational advantage, however, became more and more of a burden with the advent of motor transport.

Regional traffic arises mainly from deliveries to trading companies and industrial companies, the dispatch of goods to local companies, and from private and public passenger traffic on the way to work, shopping or other errands.

One approach that attracts little supraregional traffic but relieves the town center is a slow bypass road that is planned to be narrower and with tighter curves. The fragmentation of the bypass road using roundabouts is popular and controversial in this context because it is also perceived as an imposition.


In Germany, the technical term for these roads in the course of federal roads is a bypass (see §16 FStrG Bundesfernstraßengesetz ). If these roads are referred to in state road laws, the term bypass is also used here (example: Saarland Road Act (§64)). Other names are also local bypass or bypass road .


Part of the old B 192 near Penzlin (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)

The planning of bypasses is often the cause of discussions in local politics , in which citizen initiatives are often involved. On the one hand, there are citizens' initiatives that criticize the planned course of the road, for example, because residents on the outskirts are additionally burdened by the construction of the bypass or because they have nature conservation concerns.

On the other hand, there are citizens' initiatives who expect traffic relief for the town by building a bypass and who want to promote planning and construction with their work. According to Spiegel, some of these pro-street citizens' initiatives were founded by the Society for the Promotion of Environmentally Friendly Road and Transport Planning (GSV), a lobby organization for the automotive and road construction industry.

In many places, bypass roads are to run entirely or partially on existing railway lines, which for this purpose have to be shut down, dismantled and redeveloped, possibly contrary to initiatives to maintain or reactivate them. Other buildings, bodies of water or natural areas that are worthy of protection often require complex routes with bridges or tunnels, at least in mountainous terrain. The considerable costs associated with this often delay or prevent the construction of bypasses. Both problem areas may influence each other and further complicate the resolution of conflicts of interest.

Another problem can be the pressure to settle down by commercial and industrial companies in the area of ​​the connection points. The accessibility advantages at the connection points resulting from bypasses can create locations that compete with existing trading centers, city centers and town centers. These changed location advantages represent a particular challenge for spatial planning .

In general, the effects of bypasses are controversial.


Large lobby associations such as Pro Mobility , the Chambers of Industry and Commerce or the GSV, which are committed to the construction of numerous bypasses, expect:

  • Traffic relief in urban areas
  • a generally better flow of traffic
  • thus less traffic jams and thus also an economic benefit
  • an improvement in road safety
  • Reduction of the health impacts from traffic noise and exhaust gases
  • Revitalization of the town centers
  • Increase in the number of pedestrians and cyclists in total urban traffic


The environmental lobby association BUND, on the other hand, speaks of sham solutions in a background paper when building bypasses. When building a bypass, he expects:

  • in most cases only minor noise reductions
  • When viewed in an overall comparison, no improvement in road safety and no reduction in the costs of the accident
  • an increasing overall traffic load
  • mostly no noteworthy traffic relief of the town through-traffic

Die Zeit sums it up: “By-pass roads ... are popular showcase projects with backbenchers in the Bundestag. The Federal Ministry of Transport was indeed in a given by himself commissioned study confirms that 60 percent of the projects contribute little or nothing to relieve the towns. "( The time from 18.06.2003)

Possible alternatives to a bypass

There are some alternatives to reduce the traffic load in localities. These include measures to reduce road traffic noise (e.g. noise barriers , soundproof windows ), traffic avoidance , traffic shifting and traffic calming . HGV traffic bans can be used on routes where, due to a parallel toll road, alternate truck traffic drives through the towns.

Web links

Wiktionary: bypass  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: ring road  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. The car magazine ADAC Motorwelt took up the topic z. B. in the September 1955 issue. Title: The construction of bypass roads
  2. A road for the environment . In: Der Spiegel . No. 21 , 2003 ( online ).
  3. Facts about bypasses ( Memento from September 5, 2008 in the Internet Archive ), BUND background paper (PDF; 72KB)
  4. ^ Fritz Vorholz: Expansion of the storage zone . In: The time . No. June 26 , 2003, ISSN  0044-2070 ( online [accessed March 29, 2019]).