Sonnborn Cross

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Template: Infobox Autobahnkreuz / Maintenance / DE-A
Sonnborn Cross
A46 A535 B228 L 74 L 418
Overview map of the Sonnborn Cross
Country: Germany
State : North Rhine-Westphalia
Coordinates: 51 ° 14 '16 "  N , 7 ° 5' 36"  E Coordinates: 51 ° 14 '16 "  N , 7 ° 5' 36"  E
Height: 150  m above sea level NN
Basic data
Design type: Line solution

The Sonnborner Kreuz (formerly: Autobahnkreuz Wuppertal-Sonnborn ) is an intersection of the federal highways 46 and 535 in the Wuppertal district of Sonnborn . In addition, the junction enables connection to the federal highway 228, which runs parallel to the A 46 , and to the motorway-like developed motorways L 74 towards Solingen / Remscheid and L 418 towards Wuppertal-Cronenberg and - Ronsdorf . Junction 31 of the A 46 with a direct connection to the L 418 also falls within the area of ​​the cross. At the time of its opening, it was considered the largest inner-city motorway junction in Europe.


The Sonnborn Cross under construction: route through Sonnborn
The Sonnborn Cross under construction: looking north

In the 1950s, the planning for the federal highway 326 entered the concrete phase. The B 326 was supposed to be the extension of the Düsseldorf - Hilden motorway in an easterly direction. During the planning phase, the federal road was rededicated to a motorway, the Federal Motorway 201, which was renamed the A 46 in the 1970s due to the nationwide new numbering of the motorways.

A motorway junction was needed between Wuppertal-Vohwinkel and Wuppertal-Sonnborn, which connected the A 201 with the B 224 and state road 74. Due to the extremely flat crossing angle, the planned local connection points and the difficult topography, a very complex crossing structure with many bridges and driveways had to be planned, which aroused great interest among experts.

The location in a densely populated district as well as the course of the river Wupper in the vicinity and the four-track railway line Düsseldorf-Elberfeld, which also crosses with 400 train journeys daily, made very extensive planning necessary. The Wuppertal suspension railway also had to be taken into account, which also had to cross parallel to the railway line, and inner-city traffic in the form of federal road 228 was not allowed to be interrupted.

The following measures were necessary for the construction:

  • Demolition of the residential development on the route
  • Laying the city supply lines
  • Lowering of the Wupper by 1.25 meters at 1950 meters
  • Lifting the suspension railway over a length of 485 m by up to two meters
  • Relocation of the B 228 to a level above the federal motorway 46
  • Construction of a bridge structure for the railway line with a length of 128 m
  • Relocation of further local roads

The Wuppertal public utilities, as the operator of the suspension railway, only allowed a period of 16 days for the lifting of the supporting structure, which was actually observed. The Federal Railroad, on the other hand, did not allow any interruption of rail traffic, so that every single track had to be relocated gradually when the bridge was built.

Construction began in 1968, the opening took place on May 16, 1974. The construction costs amounted to approx. 150 million DM, which accounted for around half of the total construction costs for the A 46 in Wuppertal. A total of around one million cubic meters of earth was moved over a construction area of ​​24 hectares.

Consequences for the district

View over part of the Sonnborner Kreuz towards the south

The construction of the cross resulted in the demolition of numerous buildings, including the 19th century Catholic Church of St. Remigius , in a complete change in the center of Sonnborn, which was cut into two parts by the ground level roadway. A total of 65 buildings with 576 apartments were demolished and 2000 residents were relocated. The previous main traffic axis of Sonnborn, the Sonnborner Straße , became a dead end because the through traffic was relocated via the newly built B 228 on the banks of the Wupper.

The district was very badly affected by the traffic noise from the motorway. A noise barrier was only erected in 2008.


Suspension railway over the Sonnborner Kreuz.


As one of the very few motorway junctions in Germany, the Sonnborn Cross has been fitted with lighting systems since it opened in 1974. For this purpose, a total of 52 concrete masts with heights of 30 to 54 meters were built, which carried a total of 656 sodium vapor lamps and thus enabled a lighting level of 25 lux on the roadways. In addition to the lanes of the cross, the surrounding streets were also illuminated.

However, it turned out early on that the system was oversized, which is why half a year later, in November 1974, half of the spotlights were switched off in order to reduce light emissions and save costs. From 1982 the southern parts of the cross were not illuminated. On September 30, 2010, the system was initially shut down on a trial basis and then finally shut down in July 2011. The city of Wuppertal saves around 60,000 euros per year on lighting.

Due to the high level of maintenance required , the removal of the concrete masts was planned after the entire system had been shut down by Straßen.NRW . The first of the masts was dismantled on July 23, 2016 to test the feasibility of the planned dismantling of the light masts. To do this, the Sonnborn junction with the A 46 had to be temporarily closed. All masts were removed from January 21 to January 23, 2017.

Integrated connection point

The cross is not completely free of height . Traffic between the motorway-like L 74 from the direction of Remscheid / Solingen and the A 46 in the direction of Düsseldorf and in the opposite direction must leave the motorway at junction 31 and use the traffic lights on the B 228.


The cross was known as the Wuppertal-Sonnborn motorway junction until 1995 . The designation "Autobahnkreuz" was justified despite the often contrary opinion in the population, since the A 535 branched off from the A 46 to the north from here. The A 535 was initially only 1.8 kilometers long, ended at Saurenhaus and was not separately signposted as an independent motorway, so that residents were often not aware of the status of this section as an independent short motorway. The connection to the B 224 was only realized in 1990 with the construction of the Großer Busch tunnel , but the A 535 officially came to an end in front of the tunnel until 2007, although the road continued seamlessly as a motorway-like B 224. In September 2007, the entire length of the B 224 to Velbert was rededicated as the A 535.

South of the motorway intersection, the A 535 continues as a motorway-like state road 74 towards Solingen / Remscheid.


  2. Sonnborn. Bürgererverein Sonnborn-Zoo-Varresbeck 1888 eV, archived from the original on September 8, 2013 ; accessed on May 14, 2019 .
  3. WZ Newsline of September 28, 2010
  4. ^ City of Wuppertal from July 5, 2011

Web links

Commons : Sonnborner Kreuz  - Collection of images, videos and audio files