The Austrian autobahns are controlled-access highways in Austria. They are officially called Bundesstraßen A (Bundesautobahnen) under the authority of the Federal Government according to the Austrian Federal Road Act (Bundesstraßengesetz),not to be confused with the former Bundesstraßen highways maintained by the Austrian states since 2002.
Ideas to build up a limited-access road network with grade separated interchanges had been developed already in the 1920s, including a "Nibelungen" highway along the Donau (Danube) river from Passau to Wien (Vienna) and further on towards Budapest. Those plans however had never been carried out due to the lasting economic crisis that hit the country after the dissolution of Austria-Hungary in 1918, exacerbated by the Great Depression.
The first autobahn on Austrian territory was the West Autobahn from Salzburg to Vienna. Building started immediately after the Austrian Anschluss in 1938 [the annexation of Austria] on order of Adolf Hitler as extension of the German Reichsautobahn-Strecke 26 from München (Munich) (the present-day Bundesautobahn 8). However, only 16.8 km (10.4 mi) including the branch-off of the planned Tauern Autobahn had been finished on 13 September 1941. Construction works discontinued the next year due to World War II. After the war delaying resistance by the Soviet occupation forces as well as claims raised by West Germany to the former Reichsautobahn assets obstructed the resumption until 1954.
Construction started in the US-occupied zone of Salzburg and Upper Austria, partly relying on the pre-war planning, and were extended after the country gained full sovereignty by the 1955 Austrian State Treaty. The first section of the West Autobahn up to Mondsee was opened in 1958, by 1967 the route between Salzburg and Vienna was completed. From 1959 onwards the Süd Autobahn was built to reach the southern state capitals of Graz and Klagenfurt from Vienna. The construction of the Tauern Autobahn was not resumed until 1969. The Inn Valley Autobahn in the western state of Tyrol was built from 1968 onwards, up to today it is not directly connected to the main Austrian autobahn network, as via motorway drivers have to use the German autobahns BAB 8 and 93 along the Deutsches Eck link.
Austria currently has 18 autobahns, since 1982 built and maintained by the self-financed ASFiNAG stock company in Vienna, which is wholly owned by the Republic of Austria and earns revenue from road user charges and tolls. Each route bears a number as well as an official name with local reference, which, however, is not displayed on road signs. Unusually for European countries, interchanges (between motorways called Knoten, "knots") are numbered by distance in kilometres starting from where the route begins. That arrangement is also used in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Spain and most Canadian provinces (and in most American states, albeit in miles). The current Austrian Autobahn network has a total length of 1,720 km (1,070 mi).
The system is going to be expanded; one autobahn is currently under construction, and one more is planned. The transit traffic across the main chain of the Alps, especially by trucks, has led to a considerable environmental load to the fragile Alpine ecosystem. Several action groups urge the transfer of freight transport from road to rail. In 1991, Austria signed the Alpine Convention on the protection of the natural environment.
|Number||Name||Route||Length (km)||Length (mi)||Status|
|A1||West Autobahn||Vienna Auhof – Sankt Pölten – Linz – Salzburg – Walserberg border crossing (German Bundesautobahn 8)||292||181||Open|
|A2||Süd Autobahn||Vienna Inzersdorf interchange (A23) – Wiener Neustadt – Graz – Klagenfurt – Thörl-Maglern border crossing (Italian Autostrada 23)||377||234||Open|
|A3||Südost Autobahn||Guntramsdorf interchange (A2) – Eisenstadt interchange (S31)||38||24||open; Eisenstadt – Klingenbach border crossing (Hungarian M85 motorway): planned|
|A4||Ost Autobahn||Vienna Erdberg – Schwechat – Nickelsdorf border crossing (Hungarian M1 motorway)||66||41||Open|
|A5||Nord Autobahn||Eibesbrunn interchange (S1) – Wolkersdorf – Poysdorf||24||15||Open; Poysdorf – Drasenhofen border crossing (Czech R52 expressway): planned|
|A6||Nordost Autobahn||Bruckneudorf interchange – Kittsee border crossing (Slovakian D4 motorway)||22||14||Open|
|A7||Mühlkreis Autobahn||Linz interchange (A1) – Unterweitersdorf (connection Mühlviertler Schnellstraße (S10) to Czech D3 motorway under construction)||29||18||Open|
|A8||Innkreis Autobahn||Voralpenkreuz interchange (A1, A9) – Wels – Suben border crossing (German Bundesautobahn 3)||76||47||Open|
|A9||Pyhrn Autobahn||Voralpenkreuz interchange (A1, A8) – Graz – Spielfeld border crossing (Slovenian A1 motorway)||230||140||Open; some two-way tunnels|
|A10||Tauern Autobahn||Salzburg interchange (A1) – Villach interchange (A2, A11)||193||120||Open|
|A11||Karawanken Autobahn||Villach interchange (A2, A10) – Karawanken Tunnel border crossing (Slovenian A2 motorway)||21||13||Open; one two-way tunnel|
|A12||Inn Valley Autobahn||Kufstein border crossing (German Bundesautobahn 93) – Innsbruck – Zams (Arlberg Schnellstraße (S16))||153||95||Open|
|A13||Brenner Autobahn||Innsbruck interchange (A12) – Brenner Pass border crossing (Italian Autostrada 22)||35||22||Open|
|A14||Rheintal/Walgau Autobahn||Hörbranz border crossing (German Bundesautobahn 96) – Bregenz – Feldkirch – Bludenz-Montafon (Arlberg Schnellstraße (S16))||61||38||Open|
|A21||Wiener Außenring Autobahn||Steinhäusl interchange (A1) – Alland – Vösendorf interchange (A2, S1)||38||24||Open|
|A22||Donauufer Autobahn||Vienna Kaisermühlen interchange (A23) – Korneuburg – Stockerau interchange (S3, S5)||34||21||Open; Kaisermühlen – Kaiserebersdorf interchange (A4): proposed|
|A23||Autobahn Südosttangente Wien||Vienna Altmannsdorf – Vienna Hirschstetten||18||11||Open; Hirschstetten – Raasdorf interchange (S1): planned|
|Vienna Hanssonkurve interchange (A23) – Vienna Rothneusiedl interchange (S1)||0||0||Plans rejected|
|A25||Welser Autobahn||Haid interchange (A1)– Wels interchange (A8)||20||12||Open|
|A26||Linzer Autobahn||Hummelhof interchange (A7) – Urfahr interchange (A7)||0||0||Planned|
Unlike German autobahns, on Austrian autobahns a general speed limit of 130 km/h (81 mph) is set, although as of August 25, 2018, the FPÖ government has been going on a trial for a possible speed limit increase to 140 km/h (87 mph) on the Autobahn 1 freeway. They may only be used by powered vehicles that are designed to achieve at least 60 km/h (37 mph). While on the motorway voluntary stops, U-turns and backward driving are prohibited.
Schnellstraßen (officially Bundesstraßen S) are federal limited-access roads very similar to Autobahnen; the chief difference is that they are more cheaply built with fewer tunnels, mostly just following the given topography. Depending on the road extension, they are either signposted as Autobahn or Autostraße according to Austrian traffic regulations. The speed limit on Schnellstraßen is 100 km/h, however on some it is 130 km/h indicated by a sign. The current Schnellstraßen system has a total length of 466 km (290 mi).
As they fit better with the mountainous topography of Austria, Schnellstraßen often serve as an autobahn substitute. For example, the main link between the Austria's westernmost state of Vorarlberg and adjacent Tyrol is entirely provided by the S16 Arlberg Schnellstraße , including the Arlberg Road Tunnel completed in 1979.
Since 1997, the use of all Autobahnen and Schnellstraßen requires the purchase of a vignette (toll sticker) for passenger cars up to 3.5 tonnes or a GO-Box (electronic toll system) for trucks and buses. The toll fee (Maut) has to be paid to legally access the Austrian Autobahns at any time except the Autobahns listed below. On routes which are more costly to maintain, mostly Alpine routes with tunnels—sections of the Pyhrn Autobahn, the Tauern Autobahn (Tauern Tunnel) and the Karawanken Autobahn (Karawanken Tunnel), as well as the Brenner Autobahn—a toll is collected at time of use via toll plazas and therefore drivers do not need to have a vignette to use these Autobahns.
Vignettes (coll. Pickerl) are available in varying lengths of validity (10 days, two months, or a year). As of 2016 [update] , a vignette valid for a year costs €85.70 for cars and €34.10 for motorcycles. To prove to have paid this fee, the toll stickers have to be put onto the inside of the front windscreen. Once removed, they no longer are valid, so each car on Austrian Autobahns needs its own toll sticker.
Since 2004 trucks must carry the GO-Box, a little white box which counts the length of the Autobahn used by way of electrical control points, queried by overhead DSRC microwave radio transceivers at different locations. Overhead 3-D infrared laser scanners are used to detect and photograph trucks travelling without it.
A fine of €110 must be paid if a vehicle is on the motorway without a GO-Box or a vignette, or a fine of €240 if a vignette is not affixed onto the windscreen or in one of the approved places or the vehicle is on the motorway with a vignette that has expired or been tampered with. If the driver refuses to pay the fine, then the fine will increase to between €300 and €3,000.
The A13 is a motorway, at times an Autostrasse (expressway), which runs from St. Margrethen in northeastern Switzerland through to Ascona in southern Switzerland, crossing the main chain of the Alps in the Grisons area. It is the southern half of European route E43.
The Autobahn is the federal controlled-access highway system in Germany. The official German term is Bundesautobahn, which translates as "federal motorway". The literal meaning of the word Bundesautobahn is "Federal Auto(mobile) Track".
Bundesautobahn 8 is an autobahn in southern Germany that runs 497 km (309 mi) from the Luxembourg A13 motorway at Schengen via Neunkirchen, Pirmasens, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Ulm, Augsburg and Munich to the Austrian West Autobahn near Salzburg.
The West Autobahn (A1) was the first motorway (Autobahn) to be built in Austria, originating from plans drawn up for the so-called Reichsautobahn system. Completed in 1967, today it runs from the outskirts of Vienna via Linz to Salzburg, where it joins the German Bundesautobahn 8 at the Walserberg border crossing.
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Vignette is a form of road pricing imposed on vehicles, usually in addition to the compulsory road tax, based on a period of time the vehicle may use the road, instead of road tolls that are based on distance travelled. Vignettes are currently used in several European countries. The term originated in France in the 1950s, although vignettes there were not linked to motorway use and no longer exist; it is now used throughout Central Europe, as well as in Italy (vignetta).
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A toll road is a road over which users may travel over on payment of a toll, or fee. Tolls are a form of user tax that pays for the cost of road construction and maintenance, without raising taxes on non-users. Investor's bonds necessary for the construction of the roads are issued and sold with the expectation that the bonds will be paid back with user tolls. The toll roads may be run by government agencies that have bond issuing authority and/or private companies that sell bonds or have other sources of finance. Toll roads are usually a government guaranteed road monopoly that guarantees limited or no competing roads will be built by government agencies for the duration of the bonds. Private toll roads built with money raised from private investors in expectation of making money from the tolls probably dominated early toll roads. Government sponsored toll roads often guarantee a minimum payment to the bond holders if traffic volume and toll collections are less than predicted. If the toll authority is a private company there is often a maximum amount of fees that they may extract from users. Toll road operators are typically responsible for maintaining the roads. After the bonds are paid off the road typically reverts to the government agency that authorized the road and owns the land it was built on. Like most government taxes it is not unusual for tolls to continue to be charged after the bonds have been paid off.
The Karawanks Tunnel is a motorway tunnel crossing the Alpine Karawanks mountain range between Austria and Slovenia, with a total length of 7.864 km, 8.019 km enclosure between the portals. Its construction began in 1986 and it opened on 1 June 1991. It connects the Austrian Karawanken Autobahn (A11) from Villach with the A2 motorway leading to Kranj and Ljubljana in Slovenia, decongesting the historic Loibl/Ljubelj and Wurzen/Korensko sedlo mountain passes.
Video tolling is a form of electronic toll collection, which uses video or still images of a vehicle's license plate to identify a vehicle liable to pay a road toll. The system dispenses with collection of road tolls using road-side cash or payment card methods, and may be used in conjunction with "all electronic" open road tolling, to permit drivers without an RFID device to use the toll road.
The Tauern Autobahn is an autobahn (motorway) in Austria. It starts at the Salzburg junction with the West Autobahn (A1), runs southwards, crosses the Tauern mountain range on the main chain of the Alps and leads to the Süd Autobahn (A2) and Karawanken Autobahn (A11) at Villach in Carinthia.
The Karawanken Autobahn is an autobahn (motorway) in Austria. It runs about 21 km (13 mi) from the Villach junction with the Süd Autobahn (A2) and the Tauern Autobahn (A10) southwards to the Slovenian border where it connects the A2 motorway leading to Ljubljana. It is part of the European route E61 from Villach to Rijeka.
Landesstraßen are roads in Germany and Austria that are, as a rule, the responsibility of the respective German or Austrian federal state. The term may therefore be translated as "state road". They are roads that cross the boundary of a rural or urban district. A Landesstraße is thus less important than a Bundesstraße or federal road, but more significant than a Kreisstraße or district road. The classification of a road as a Landesstraße is a legal matter (Widmung). In the free states of Bavaria and Saxony – but not, however, in the Free State of Thuringia – Landesstraßen are known as Staatsstraßen.
Highways in the Czech Republic are managed by the state-owned Road and Motorway Directorate of the Czech Republic – ŘSD ČR, established in 1997. The ŘSD currently (2018) manages and maintains 1,250 km of motorways (dálnice), whose speed limit is of 130 km/h or 80 mph. The present-day national motorway network is due to be of about 2,000 km before 2030.
This article describes the highway systems available in selected countries.
The ASFiNAG is an Austrian publicly owned corporation which plans, finances, builds, maintains and collects tolls for the Austrian autobahns. The ASFiNAG is fully owned by the Austrian government under the responsibility of the Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology or German: Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Innovation und Technologie (BMVIT).
The Reichsautobahn system was the beginning of the German autobahns under the Third Reich. There had been previous plans for controlled-access highways in Germany under the Weimar Republic, and two had been constructed, but work had yet to start on long-distance highways. After previously opposing plans for a highway network, the Nazis embraced them after coming to power and presented the project as Hitler's own idea. They were termed "Adolf Hitler's roads" and presented as a major contribution to the reduction of unemployment. Other reasons for the project included: enabling Germans to explore and appreciate their country, and there was a strong aesthetic element to the execution of the project under the Third Reich; military applications, although to a lesser extent than has often been thought; a permanent monument to the Third Reich, often compared to the pyramids; and general promotion of motoring as a modernization that in itself had military applications.
The Arlberg Schnellstraße (S16) is an expressway (Schnellstraße) in Austria that is part of the E 60. It runs along a length of 62.2 km between Zams and Bludenz and connects the Inn Valley Autobahn (A12) in Tyrol with the Rheintal/Walgau Autobahn (A14) in Vorarlberg. The border between the two states is located in the Arlberg Tunnel (toll), which is 13,972 m long and is also the longest road tunnel in Austria. Overall, more than half of the route runs in long tunnels.