The Axenstrasse is an 11.4-kilometre-long (7.1 mi) two-lane middle section with ongoing traffic between the A4 motorway and the A2 motorway, and part of European route E41 between the resort of Brunnen in the canton of Schwyz to the village of Flüelen in the canton of Uri in Central Switzerland. The road is built along steep cliffs on the east side of the Urnersee (first part of the Lake Lucerne) weaving through many rock fall galleries and tunnels along its route. Upon completion in 1865, the Axenstrasse was the first way to get to Uri that did not involve navigating Lake Lucerne.[1]

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Route information
Part of Tabliczka E41.svg E41
Major junctions
Highway system
Highways in Switzerland

Motorways of Switzerland


The Axenstrasse in 1904

The engineer, Landamman (cantonal council's president) of Uri, and Federal Councillor of State Karl Emanuel Müller (1804–1869) initiated the first road for horse-drawn carriages. Construction on a new road to connect Flüelen to Brunnen began in 1861, and was completed in 1865. The name of the Axenstrasse refers to one particular part of the mountains the Axenstrasse circumvents and traverses, the 600 m (2,000 ft) high, vertical rock between Flüelen and Sisikon, actually a farmed meadow terrace (Ober Axen and Unter Axen) right below the much higher Rophaien (2,078 m (6,818 ft)).

The route, especially in the part south of Sisikon, involves many open passages with rock galleries and numerous openings in the west tunnel walls viewing Urnersee as a result of the tunnel blasting through the calcareous rock.[2][3] The road costs were 842,000 francs in 1865, half of which was paid for by the federal government of Switzerland.[1]

The Axenstrasse in 2009
The Axenstrasse cuts through the village of Sisikon

Between 1937 and 1939, the Axenstrasse was altered to suit modern traffic in lieu of horse-drawn carriages, and a lane in each direction for road traffic was paved. Many sections of the old Axenstrasse were also closed to automotive traffic to serve as hiking trails.[2] The Axenstrasse was again renovated between 1975 and 1990.[1]


The Axenstrasse is a middle section between the A4 motorway and the A2 motorway, and a part of the European route E41 in a north-south direction, but still on a two-lane road with oncoming traffic. Between Brunnen and Flüelen, there are no major junctions, although about halfway through, just south of the border between the cantons of Uri and Schwyz, there is one small settlement, Sisikon. At the southern end of the route, there is a connection to the Klausen Pass road in Altdorf and a connection to the A2 motorway and European route E35 near the Seelisberg Tunnel on the other side of the Urnersee.

For all of its length, the Axenstrasse parallels the Gotthard railway, a part of the Swiss Federal Railways.


  1. ^ a b c "Die Axenstrasse Zwischen Brunnen und Flüelen". A4 Neue Axenstrasse: Kantone Schwyz Und Uri (in German). Baumann, Fryberg, Tarelli. Archived from the original on 26 December 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Axenstrasse". Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Geologie". A4 Neue Axenstrasse: Kantone Schwyz Und Uri (in German). Baumann, Fryberg, Tarelli. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2014.

Coordinates: 46°57′14″N 8°37′14″E / 46.95389°N 8.62056°E / 46.95389; 8.62056