Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

400-Series Highway

400-Series Highways are a network of controlled-access freeways throughout the Province of Ontario, Canada. They function similar to the Interstate Highway network in the United States or the Autoroute system in the province of Quebec. Modern 400-series highways have very high design standards, high speed limits (100 KM/h with plans to raise it as high as 130 KM/h) and various collision avoidance systems. The standard interchange used on 400-Series Highways, the Parclo A4, was designed by Ontario's Ministry of Transportation to replace the cloverleaf interchange and has since become the standard interchange used on new freeways throughout North America.

'''Aerial view of Highway 401 looking east from the Don Valley Parkway
in Toronto

Table of contents
1 400-Series History
2 List of 400-Series Highways
3 Former 400-Series Highways
4 Future Additions to the System
5 External links

400-Series History

400-Series Highways receive numbers one of two ways. The first and original method was sequential numbering starting at 400 and working up to 409. The first three 400-series Highways were 400, 401 and 402 - originally known as the Barrie-Toronto Highway, Highway 2A and the Bluewater Bridge Approach. All three highways received their numbers in 1952. Since then additional highways have been constructed using sequential numbering from 403 to 409. Although there were plans for a Highway 408 it was not constructed. It is widely believed that the new Mid-Peninsula Highway bypass of the Queen Elizabeth Way will receive the designation 408.

The more common method of 400-series numbering after 1970 is assigning a 400 designation to an already-existing highway. For example, Torontoís Highway 427 was the original routing of Highway 27 prior to being upgraded to a freeway. Highway 416 and 417 were the original routings of Highway 16 and 17 in the Ottawa area. Sometimes the highway isnít necessarily an upgrade of the existing route. Highway 410 and 420 were both freeway bypasses of Highway 10 and Highway 20.

Although the Queen Elizabeth Way has no posted route number it is still part of the 400-Series highway network. The QEW has the secret designation of Highway 451.

List of 400-Series Highways

Today there are 15 different 400-Series Highways (including the QEW) creating a transportation backbone across the southern portion of the province. Plans are currently underway to extend the existing network into Northern Ontario as well as add new routes into the system.

Highway 400

As of October 2003, Highway 400 runs from Toronto to Parry Sound. There is currently an 8 kilometre gap at the Musquash River bridge where the highway is only two lanes, rather than four; however, as the four-lane construction is expected to be completed within a couple of years, the Highway 400 designation has already been extended through this segment. There is also an approximately 20 km stretch, from Horseshoe Lake to the terminus at Parry Sound, where the highway bears the dual designation 400/69. At the Parry Sound terminus of Highway 400, the four lanes simply merge into two and continue northward as Highway 69. Continued construction along the Highway 69 corridor will eventually extend Highway 400 to Sudbury in Northern Ontario. Although this may be subject to change, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation currently plans to have this construction completed by 2013.

Highway 400 is Toronto's main freeway link into Muskoka, York Region and Barrie.

Highway 401

Highway 401 runs from Windsor to the Quebec border. Highway 401 is the backbone of the 400-Series network running across the entire length of Southern and Eastern Ontario.

Highway 402

Highway 402 starts at the Blue Water Bridge in Point Edward (a small village located inside Sarnia) and runs 102km to end at Highway 401 in London. The 402 connects Interstates 69 and 94 in Michigan with the 401 in Ontario.

Highway 403

Highway 403 forms a loop that runs from the Highway 401 in Woodstock back to the junction of Highway 401 and Highway 410 in Mississauga. It passes through Brantford, Hamilton and the Southwestern Suburbs of Toronto. Land that was originally planned to be used for the 403 through Burlington and Oakville was sold to the owners of Highway 407 in the mid-1990s, making a 23km gap between the two sections permanent. In 2002 the Ministry of Transportion co-signed the section of QEW together with the 403.

Highway 404

Highway 404 runs from north from the junction of Highway 401 and the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto to currently end in Newmarket, with eventual plans to extend it to the northern side of Lake Simcoe. Highway 404 is the second north-south freeway in York Region and connects the Northeastern Suburbs with Toronto.

Highway 405

Highway 405 serves as a connector from the Queen Elizabeth Way to the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Though a short spur route, it is still considered a major highway connecting the main trunk highway to Toronto (the QEW) with Interstate 190 outside of Niagara Falls, New York.

Highway 406

Highway 406 serves as a north-south route from the Queen Elizabeth Way through downtown St. Catharines and into central Niagara. It is the last remaining 400-Series highway under Ministry of Transportation jurisdiction with two-lane non-freeway sections. These sections, located between Fonthill and Welland, are planned to be upgraded to full four-lane freeway starting in the Summer of 2004. Plans to extend the route further south to Highway 3 in Port Colborne have been on the books for years, though with the immanent construction of the Mid-Peninsula Highway any future extensions of Highway 406 are in doubt.

Highway 407

Highway 407 forms of Northern Bypass of Highway 401 and the Queen Elizabeth Way through the Greater Toronto Area. It is Ontarioís only toll highway and owned by a private corporation. Highway 407 was also the first highway to use electronic toll collection exclusively for its entire length.

Highway 409

Highway 409 is a short connector route from the 401 to Pearson International Airport. A short section of Highway 409 between Airport Road and Highway 427 in Mississauga was sold to the Greater Toronto Airport Authority in 1999 and is now under their jurisdiction.

Highway 410

Highway 410 runs from the junction of Highway 401 and Highway 403 in Mississauga through Northern Mississauga and Brampton, with eventual plans to extend it as far north as Orangeville or Owen Sound. Construction of a short extension from Highway 7 to Highway 10 is currently underway.

Highway 416

Highway 416 runs from Highway 401 near Johnstown to Highway 417 in Ottawa along the former routing of Highway 16. On the 54th anniversary of D-Day, June 6th, 2003, Highway 416 was officially dedicated as the Veterans Memorial Highway. It is the newest 400-Series highway to be built and owned by the Ministry of Transportation and is the main link between Toronto (via Highway 401) and the National Capital Region.

Highway 417

Highway 417 is the main freeway through the National Capital Region and Eastern Ontario along the Quebec border. Construction of a 27 km extension to Arnprior is currently underway and expected to be completed soon. Eventually the Ministry of Transportation hopes to extend the 417 as far west as North Bay and possibly even as far as Sault Ste. Marie -- however, there is no definite timeline set for this construction. Unlike all other east-west highways in Ontario, the 417 begins its mileage logs at the eastern terminus rather than the west.

Highway 420

This short freeway connects the Queen Elizabeth Way to the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls. The highway was originally a part of the Queen Elizabeth Way itself, but it was renumbered as Highway 420 in 1972, after extensive reconstruction of the route. For nearly 800 meters east of Stanley Ave, Highway 420 is just a regular four-lane city street known as Roberts Street. Though this section of highway was once considered part of the 420, it was transfered to the City of Niagara Falls in 2000. Whether or not Roberts Street is still actually Highway 420 is questionable. The Ministry of Transportation hopes to extend the 420 west past Montrose Road to meet up with Highway 58 and the Thorold Tunnel.

Highway 427

Highway 427 came into existence by designating the already-freeway portions of Highway 27 and the Airport Expressway as a 400-series highway. It serves the heavy-travelled area between the Queen Elizabeth Way and Gardiner Expressway in the south and Highway 407 in the north. Highway 427 has heavy traffic volumes and is no less then 12 lanes between the Queen Elizabeth Way/Gardiner Expressway and Highway 401. The Ministry of Transportation plans on extending Highway 427 to at least Highway 89 and possibly as far as the Barrie area.

Queen Elizabeth Way (Highway 451)

The Queen Elizabeth Way is one of North America's oldest long-distance superhighways. Due to several directional changes along the route the highway uses city names rather than cardinal directions to direct motorists.

Former 400-Series Highways

Due to government restructuring in 1997 and 1998 various sections of provincial highway were transferred over to local jurisdictions. While most of the highways transferred were local in nature, several large routes including freeways were transferred to local governments.

Highway 400A

Originally Highway 400 until the opening of the Coldwater Extension in 1960, Highway 400A, though never signed, was a short spur connecting Highway 400 to the Highway 11 expressway northeast of Barrie. When Highway 11 south of Highway 400 was transferred to local control in 1997 the designation Highway 11 was officially applied to Highway 400A, eliminating it in its entirety. Highway 400A was formerly the shortest 400-Series Highway, had no junctions located between its termini, and was the only 400-Series Highway to be a suffixed route number.

Queen Elizabeth Way east of Highway 427

This short section of Queen Elizabeth Way was transffered to the City of Toronto in 1997 as a cost savings measure by the Provincial Government. It has since been re-designated as a western extension of the Gardiner Expressway

Future Additions to the System

There are several plans on the books to add new routes to the 400-series highway system to serve the growing population of motorists throughout Ontario. Many of these new routes are expected to be toll roads owned and operated in a similar fashion to Highway 407.

Mid-Peninsula Highway

The Mid-Peninsula Highway will serve as southern bypass of the Queen Elizabeth Way through the environmental sensitive Niagara Peninsula. Current estimates peg the QEW requiring five lanes of traffic per direction by 2012. Widening the highway to ten lanes through Ontario's Wine Country and Tender Fruitlands was not considered an acceptable option. Instead, the Mid-Peninsula Highway was devised as a bypass of the QEW for traffic heading directly to Toronto and beyond across the Southern and Central portions of the Niagara Peninsula. The Mid-Peninsula Highway will more then likely be a privately-owned toll (similar to Highway 407 road with construction expected to begin in 2004-2005.

Bradford Bypass

The Bradford Bypass will serve as a connector between Highways 400 and 404 on the extreme northern edge of the Greater Toronto Area. Construction is expected to begin by the end of this decade.

401/407 East Leg Connector 1

401/407 East Leg Connector 1 will serve as a connector between Highway 401 and Highway 407 in the fast-growing western end of Durham Region.

External links