What distinguishes freeways from highways in Switzerland?Switzerland's freeways (expressways) and highways are controlled by the federal government and, to a lesser extent, by individual cantons. They are available for vehicles that can travel at least 80 kilometers per hour.
Swiss freeway – definition
A Swiss freeway, in the sense of a first-class national road, is a road that has no intersections, is separated by direction, and has at least two lanes in each direction.
Swiss motorway – definition
A motorway in Switzerland is in the sense of a national road 2. Class also free of intersections, but there are rarely separate directions. Many motorways are also single lane only. The maximum speed on Swiss freeways is 120 km/h. Was introduced on 1. January 1985 put into force. January 1985 put into force. According to type. 108 Abs. 5a SSV, the speed limit can be gradually reduced from 120 km/h to 60 km/h. Mostly this happens in steps of 10 or 20 km/h. In freeway tunnels and on sections without hard shoulders, a maximum speed of 80 or 100 km/h is predominantly set.
A maximum speed limit of 100 km/h applies on Swiss motorways. In most cases, the maximum speed is displayed with respect to foreign road users, but there are also exceptions. On routes with tunnel sections, the speed limit is usually 80 km/h.
The speed limit in Switzerland ranges between 80 and 120 km/h.
Signalization of Swiss highways and freeways
In Switzerland, green signalization signs with white pictograms are used for the entrance and end of all freeways and expressways. Numbering signs are red with white lettering. It does not matter whether the road is operated by the federal or cantonal government. Within the signposted sections the appropriate maximum speed applies.
Some of the short sections operated by the cantons are sometimes signposted blue.
Also designed white on green are the following signs:
– Signposts on freeways and highways (national and cantonal) – Branching signs on freeways and highways (national and cantonal) – Distance signs on freeways and highways (national and cantonal)
Blue signs with white directional arrows indicate the exits on highways and freeways in German-speaking Switzerland. These exits are also numbered, for which black and white signs are used.
Numbering of freeways and highways in Switzerland
The A-numbering (white numbers on a red background) is used across the board for highways and freeways to avoid confusion.
National roads have an N number in addition to the A number. This has historical reasons. Only the A numbers are used on maps, on signs and on radio messages.
Demarcation freeways / expressways : national roads
The Swiss freeway and expressway network is not identical to the country's national road network. The last category includes all roads that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government, including those that are not authorized for motor vehicles only. The national importance is decisive for the inclusion of a route in the national road network. It can also include small connections.
Example: The Prättigauerstrasse N28, a main road, may also be used by non-motorized vehicles on some sections of the road. As it provides a safe connection to the Lower Engadine, especially in winter, it is of national importance and is classified as a national road.
Example: Forchstrasse A52
On the highways and freeways in Switzerland there is a vignette obligation, which also affects motorcycles.
Toll and freeway vignette for Switzerland
For the use of national Swiss freeways and highways, drivers of light motor vehicles and light trailers must pay tolls and provide proof of this in the form of a freeway vignette. Motor vehicles with a total weight of 3.5 tons or more are obliged to pay a performance-based heavy vehicle fee (LSVA) instead. On cantonal highways. Motorways are not subject to the vignette obligation.
National freeways and highways of Switzerland
Switzerland's expressway network as of 2020
The freeway and expressway network in Switzerland is not identical to the country's national road network.
Cantonal freeways and highways in Switzerland
Cantonal freeways and highways in Switzerland are under the jurisdiction of the respective cantons. They are exempt from the vignette obligation.
Freeways planned and under construction
The colored Swiss freeways in the two lists are not yet in operation. Currently, the status for this is as follows:
– A5 – Biel west branch between Brüggmoos – Vingelz junction: in planning – A9 – Rhone freeway between Siders east – Leuk: under construction – A9 – Rhone freeway between Gampel – Visp south: under construction – A15 Oberland freeway between Uster east – Wetzikon west – Ottikon: in planning – A23 Bodensee-Thurtal road between Eschikofen – Weinfelden – Amriswil – Arbon west: in planning – A25 Appenzellerland feeder road between Gossau Ost – Herisau- Waldstatt: in discussion – Highway 122 – Wattwil bypass between Wattwil Süd – Ebnat-Kappel Nord: under construction – A 50 Unterland gap closure between Glattfelden Ost – Bülach Nord: in discussion
Freeways and highways in Switzerland are open to vehicles that can travel at least 80 kilometers per hour.
Special case A5 Biel-Bienne – west branch
The Biel freeway bypass was to link Solothurn and Neuchâtel as part of the national road network, thus closing one of the few freeway gaps in Switzerland. While the east branch was already opened to traffic in 2017, the west branch is turning into a problematic case.
The Federal Council gave the go-ahead for construction of the west branch in September 2014. The year 2030 has been targeted for completion. However, Bernese Heritage Protection, the Swiss Landscape Protection Foundation and Helvetia Nostra considered the plans unworkable due to a lack of environmental compatibility. In addition, large parts of the population of Biel resisted two open freeway junctions in the city center. Applied for the reclassification of the route into a national road 3. Class. Class.
Since the supporters and opponents could not find a consensus, the planning was suspended in 2020. This does not mean that the project is finally off the table, but the Corona crisis caused a further delay in the discussions. In any case, it is necessary to find a generally accepted alternative to the original plans for the A 5 Biel-Bienne.