Between the 1970s and 1980s, the N2 national road (that now links the north and south of Switzerland, from Basel to Chiasso via Lucerne) saw the creation of the link between Bellinzona South and Rivera. This strategic intervention was designed to get around the “bottleneck” that the Monte Ceneri Pass had become.
The idea of creating an alternative to the canton road through the Monte Ceneri Pass had already been considered in the 1960s. Work began in 1976 and the Bellinzona South-Robasacco-Pontiva section of the N2 opened in 1981. Meanwhile, the 1,430-metre motorway tunnel opened in 1985, completing the N2 from Bellinzona South to Rivera.
This section, which has a maximum incline of 4.7%, saw the creation of seven viaducts of over 100 metres long. In addition to the practical aspect, the N2 motorway also added aesthetic value, so much so that it was deemed to be “one of the best designed motorway infrastructures of the twentieth century.”
The N2 motorway from Airolo to Chiasso is, in fact, considered to be the masterpiece of architect Rino Tami (1908–94), held up as one of the fathers of contemporary architecture in Ticino. The Bellinzona Branch of the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) started the overall renovation of the open-air section in 2018 with an investment of 73 million CHF.