AutobahnenIn German, Autoroutes in French, Autostrade in Italian, Autostradas in Romansch are the names of the national freeways or motorways of Switzerland. Two of the most important freeways are the A1, running from St. Margrethen in northeastern Switzerland's canton of St. Gallen through to Geneva in southwestern Switzerland, and the A2, running from Basel in northwestern Switzerland to Chiasso in southern Switzerland's canton of Ticino, on the border with Italy.
Swiss motorways have a general speed limit of 120 km/h (75 mph). Motorways are restricted to vehicles that can obtain a speed of at least 80 km/h (50 mph).
A short stretch of autobahn around the Lucerne area in 1955 created Switzerland's first autobahn. For Expo 1964, an autoroute was built between Lausanne and Geneva. The Bern-Lenzburg autobahn was inaugurated in 1967.
Current densityMap of the Swiss autobahn network
The Swiss autobahn/autoroute network has a total length (as of April 2012) of 1, 763.6 kilometres (1, 095.9 mi), of the planned 1, 893.5 kilometres (1, 176.6 mi), and has, by an area of 41, 290 km², also one of the highest motorway densities in the world with many tunnels. There are 200 tunnels with a total length of 220 kilometres (140 mi).
The Swiss autobahn/autoroute network has not yet been completed; priority has been given to the most important routes, especially the north-south and the west-east axis.
Swiss autobahns/autoroutes very often have an emergency lane except in tunnels. Some newly built autobahn sections, like the lone section crossing the Jura region in the north-western part of Switzerland, have only emergency bays.
The Swiss autobahn/autoroute system requires the purchase of a vignette (toll sticker) — which costs 40 Swiss francs — for one calendar year in order to use its roadways, for both passenger cars and trucks. The Swiss vignette is offered only as an annual toll sticker. Trucks also have to pay a toll based on the tonnage and the distance.A direction sign to a nearby motorway