Fernpass between Bavaria and Tyrol

Provincial government of Tyrol decides on tunnel expansion and new construction as well as future tolls for financing.

by Florian König, mautwelt.de - 14 February 2024  

The B179 Fernpass road between Füssen, Garmisch and the Inn Valley is popular with motorists and could lead to "congestion" on alternative routes once the toll is introduced...

Course of the Fernpass road B179 

The Fernpass between Bavaria and Tyrol serves as an important transport link between Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria near the Zugspitze region on the German side and the Inn Valley on the Austrian side for journeys to Tyrol, South Tyrol and Italy and is a section of the almost 50-kilometre-long Fernpass road B179, which is one of the busiest passes in the Alps.

The B179 Fernpass road begins at the border crossing between Germany and Austria with the single-tube Füssen border tunnel and runs as a country road past Reutte, Heiterwang and Lähn to Lermoos and the Lermoos tunnel.

Tunnel am Fernpass

The Lermoos tunnel is 3168 metres long and provided noticeable relief for the inhabitants of Lermoos when it opened in 1984. There is currently only one tube with one lane for each direction of travel, which causes slow-moving traffic and regular traffic jams during peak travelling times. 

The route continues past several lakes with many bends and a maximum gradient of 8%, first up to the Fernpass at an altitude of 1210 metres and then downhill with just as many bends to the village of Nasserreith, where the Fernpass road splits; either continue via Mieming to Innsbruck and the Brenner motorway towards Italy or via Imst to the Reschenpass towards Italy or via the Arlbergpass towards Switzerland. 

The Fernpass and the B179 Fernpass road of the same name are open all year round. In the winter months, the generally applicable regulations for equipping vehicles with winter tyres or, in appropriate weather conditions, with snow chains apply.

Fernpass road: up to 30,000 vehicles a day 

The B179 Fernpass road is the main route for motorists travelling from the A7 motorway and the Füssen border tunnel to Tyrol or Italy. This route is very busy due to the possibility of travelling toll-free through Austria to Italy. In the high season, the traffic load on the B179 Fernpass road can even reach up to 30,000 vehicles per day, which is even more than the equally busy Tauern Tunnel on the A10 Tauern motorway.

Stau am Fernpass

Expansion plans and toll for the B179 Fernpass road from 2028 

In January 2024, the state of Tyrol decided to expand the Lermoos Tunnel from 2026 to around 2029 and then to renovate the old tunnel tube. There are also plans to build a new, approximately 1.4-kilometre-long tunnel near the Blindsee lake, which will cross the Fernpass and replace a good 4.8 kilometres of pass road, making it safer against the elements. The new Fernpass tunnel is scheduled to open in 2028. 

In order to finance the planned expansion and renovation measures totalling around 500 million euros for the B179 Fernpass road, it is planned to introduce a toll once the work has been completed. Similar to other special toll routes in Austria such as the Felbertauern or Tauern tunnels, a charge will then be levied for every journey over the Fernpass and, according to current plans, will amount to 14 euros for a single journey or 140 euros for an annual pass for frequent travellers and commuters. 

An exemption from the toll was originally planned for residents. However, this was rejected, as unequal treatment of local residents and other EU citizens with regard to road tolls would violate current EU law.

der Fernpass zwischen Bayern und Tirol wird mautpflichtig

Alternative routes during the construction phases 

Depending on the starting point and desired destination of a journey, there are the following alternative routes to the B179 Fernpass road from southern Germany to Austria and Italy during the planned construction phases or afterwards: 

  • the most obvious diversions leads from Garmisch-Partenkirchen via Mittenwald, Seefeld in Tirol and the Zirler Berg to Innsbruck and the Inntal motorway A12. 

For travellers from or via Füssen with a journey via the A7, these two routes are recommended as alternatives: 

  • from the Memmingen junction via Lindau (A96) and the Austrian Rheintal motorway (A14) to the S16 Arlberg motorway 
  • from the Ulm junction via Munich (A8, A99) to the Inntal triangle (A8/A93) near Rosenheim and from there via Kiefersfelden to the Inntal motorway A12

Lawinengalerie am Fernpass


The Fernpass is an important connection to Innsbruck and on to Italy for many travellers, so the future route toll is an additional burden and could have a financial impact on commuters in particular, as well as on tourist traffic. 

The construction measures such as the 2nd tube for the Lermoos tunnel and the new Fernpass tunnel will definitely help to improve safety on the Fernpass route, but it remains to be seen to what extent traffic will shift to the available alternative routes in future due to the tolls.

Picture credits : Headerbild: @ Ilhan Balta / adobe.stock.com & Tunnel image @ Ilhan Balta /adobe.stock.com & Image traffic jam @ Ilhan Balta /adobe.stock.com & Picture Fernpass @ Ilhan Balta /adobe.stock.com & Picture avalanche gallery @ Ilhan Balta /adobe.stock.com