A16 motorway (Switzerland)
Location of the A16 in Switzerland
|Length:||84 km (52 mi)|
|Motorways of Switzerland|
The A16 motorway is a long, winding corridor that crosses the Jura Mountains from the Canton of Jura through part of the Bernese Jura area, to the flat part of the canton of Berne on the Swiss plateau. Therefore it is called Transjurane. It is congruent with the National Highway N16 and following its anticipated completion around 2020-2030, it will connect the French motorway network with the rest of the Swiss national road network. The extension provides for both four-lane standard (highway) and two-lane sections of "express roads" (Autostrasse). At present (2014), there are approximately 71 km (84%) of roadway in operation, other sections are under construction or are in planning.
The A16 starts at Boncourt in the Ajoie at the border between Switzerland and France. It runs south across the Ajoie plateau to Porrentruy, where it veers to the east. It crosses the northern Jura chains in Saint-Ursanne through two long tunnels, and reaches Glovelier, on the plateau of Delémont. After bypassing that city, the A16 turns south again, and follows the course of the Birse via Moutier and Court until Tavannes. Upon crossing Col de Pierre Pertuis through tunnels, the A16 follows the valley of the Suze (German:Schüss). It divides itself into a double lane road with separate downhill and uphill traffic on either side of the gorge of Taubenloch. It then reaches, the level of the Swiss plateau east of Biel/Bienne, connecting to the A5.
Status of construction
The following sections are in operation:
- Biel (Bözingenfeld) - La Heutte: Applies from entering Biel-North officially as third-class national highway, because the section also supports bicycles and tractors. In each direction two lanes are almost continuously present. The running carriageway is treated separately, one on the west, the other on the eastern valley slope, the latter being largely the main track of the ancient use.
- La Heutte - Tavannes: route with standard highway, opened 1997.
- Delémont - Porrentruy: Narrow highway with emergency stopping bays but without paved emergency lane; the tunnels of Mont Terri and Russelin have one lane in each direction. The opening of the route took place in 1998, which bypasses Delémont and Porrentruy (each with standard highway) in 2005.
- Moutier-North opened up Choindez (Canton boundary BE / JU), 2007.
The following sections are under construction:
- Court - Moutier-Nord: Mostly one lane in each direction, motorway standard in the section to Moutier Moutier-Sud-Nord. Expected opening of Court to Moutier-North in 2011.
- Porrentruy-Ouest - Boncourt: First grubbing and construction works in progress. Of this section, only one lane will be created initially, which will be opened throughout 2013. Then, an extension is intended to four lanes.
The following sections are currently still in the planning phase:
- Tavannes - Loveresse: The construction work on a two-lane stretch will start shortly and the opening is planned for 2011.
- Loveresse - configure Court: With a 4.5 km stretch of standard highway, will open in 2015.
- District boundary BE / JU - Delémont-Est: This two-lane section will be built from 2007 to 2012.
Because of the current financial constraints, the Swiss Federal Government can postpone most of the works on new sections. The connection of the A16 to the A36 motorway in France (Mulhouse - Dijon) between Montbéliard and Belfort is to be completed within a time horizon of 2025-2030.
Along its course, the A16 has many engineering structures, mainly tunnels but also some bridges. Therefore, the A16 is one of the most expensive road projects in Switzerland. For the whole line, a total cost of 5.6 billion Swiss francs is estimated.
Because of the difficult terrain in the area of the Jura Mountains, the construction of numerous tunnels is necessary to pass underneath the various Jura chains. The main tunnels (from north to south) with a length of more than 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) are:
- Tunnel de Bure (3,027 metres or 9,931 feet)
- Tunnel du Banné (1,086 metres or 3,563 feet, Bypass Porrentruy)
- Tunnel de la Perche (1,027 metres or 3,369 feet, Bypass Porrentruy)
- Tunnel du Mont Terri (4,068 metres or 13,346 feet)
- Tunnel du Mont Russelin (3,550 metres or 11,650 feet)
- Tunnel de Choindez (3,200 metres or 10,500 feet, Bypass Schlucht von Choindez)
- Tunnel du Raimeux (3,211 metres or 10,535 feet, Bypass der Gorges de Moutier)
- Tunnel de Moutier (1,191 metres or 3,907 feet, Bypass Moutier)
- Tunnel de Graitery (2,420 metres or 7,940 feet, Bypass Schlucht von Court)
- Tunnel Sous le Mont (1,210 metres or 3,970 feet, Bypass Tavannes)
- Tunnel de Pierre Pertuis (2,208 metres or 7,244 feet)
There are 16 more tunnels that are less than 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) in length and were partly created in open pits. Some tunnels are, or have been, built to protect the residents of nearby villages and hamlets from the noise emissions.
The A16 was not one from the start to the national motorway network in Switzerland, although there were initial projects of Jura rapid-traverse between Biel and Belfort, as early as 1964. The inclusion of the A16 in the plan of the national road network came in 1984, after the population had approved construction in the Canton of Jura, with a large majority (71%). The highway should be the favored new project of the Jura and the Ajoie. The efficient transport corridor is to ensure, after completion, a much faster connection to the rest of Switzerland.
Even after entering the national motorway network, there was the part of environmentalists strong opposition to the project. In the context of the so-called Clover Initiative, the construction of the A16 should be submitted to the entire Swiss population to vote. Due to the high acceptance of the project in the affected regions, the request was withdrawn before a vote on other controversial motorway cuts (in April 1990).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dinosaurs of A16 motorway.|
- "Die Schweitzer Autobahnen", web: Autobahnen.ch
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to A16 (Switzerland).|
- Official Website (French)
- Ausgrabung von Saurierfährten (with photos)
- Photo-series A16 auf Autobahnen.ch