This 27 October will mark the two-decade anniversary of the Gstaad Promenade pedestrian zone and bypass road and tunnel.
The main street was finally closed to car traffic in 1995 as a construction project totalling CHF 52 million began, after a decade-long struggle between proponents and the opposition.
The first vehicle drove through Gstaad in 1898, but the “driving carriages” as they were known were, unsurprisingly, criticized and even rejected by locals. Eventually cars caught on, and by the 1960’s the Promenade was a busy stretch of road. Plans for a bypass road began in 1962 but were rejected. By the time a whopping 11000 cars were counted in the village on just one day in 1985, new efforts began to plan for a bypass road, tunnel, and complete pedestrianisation of the Promenade. The project was completed in October 1997, and the event was marked by a large festival celebration.
Two evenings featuring film footage complied by local historian Gottfried von Siebenthal-Imhof will mark the anniversary. These will be shown at the Gstaad cinema on 6 and 8 November.