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hi, when i firstly meet the openstack, i exactly tought like you. i assumed that all traffic goes on neutron, but i was wrong. neutron mostly make configuration for flat and vlan network. not act as a gateway(if you do not use floating ips). because of that if the neutron close down, the network flows normally(if there is no need for a dhcp service).

if you set flat network for an interface which is provides internet using different sources, as you expect, your host internet connection communicates your gateway directly but not over neutron. i have a system like you need. it is working like a charm. i never use neutron as a gateway for internet because of some special needs. i have different network systems like l3 backbone, loadbalancer and firewall and all internet goes on that propriearty devices.