Ontario Highway 400

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Highway 400 shield Trans-Canada Highway shield

Highway 400
Toronto–Barrie Highway
Route information
Length: 226 km[2] (140 mi)
History: Opened December 1, 1951 –
July 1, 1952[1]
Major junctions
North end:  Highway 69 in Carling
   Highway 11 – Barrie
 Highway 407 – Vaughan
 Highway 401 – Toronto
South end: Maple Leaf Drive – Toronto
(continues as Black Creek Drive)
Location
Divisions: York Region, Simcoe County, Muskoka, Parry Sound District
Major cities: Toronto
Barrie
Sudbury (future)
Towns: Parry Sound, Bradford, King
Highway system
QEW Highway 401

King's Highway 400, commonly referred to as Highway 400, historically as the Toronto–Barrie Highway, and colloquially as the 400, is a 400-series highway in the Canadian province of Ontario linking the city of Toronto in the urban and agricultural south of the province with the scenic and sparsely populated central and northern regions. The portion of the highway between Toronto and Lake Simcoe roughly traces the route of a historic trail between the Lower and Upper Great Lakes. Highway 400 is part of the highest-capacity route from southern Ontario to the Canadian West, via a connection with the Trans-Canada Highway in Sudbury. The highway also serves as the primary route from Toronto to southern Georgian Bay and Muskoka, areas collectively known as cottage country. North of the Jane Street exit in north-west Toronto, the 400 is patrolled by the Ontario Provincial Police and has a speed limit of 100 km/h (62 mph). To the south it is patrolled by the Toronto Police Service and the speed limit drops to 80 km/h (50 mph) approaching Maple Leaf Drive, where the freeway becomes known as Black Creek Drive.

Highway 400 is the second longest freeway in the province, the trans-provincial Highway 401 being the longest. It was the first fully controlled-access highway in Ontario when it was opened between North York and Barrie on July 1, 1952. On that date, it was also the first highway to be designated as a 400-series. The freeway was extended in both directions; north of Barrie to Coldwater in 1958, and south of Highway 401 to Jane Street in 1966. It was widened between North York and Barrie in the 1970s. Since 1977, construction on the freeway has been snaking north along Highway 69 towards Parry Sound and now Sudbury.

As of 2011, a four lane freeway is opened as far north as Carling. At the north end of Highway 69, a segment of freeway is in operation between Murdock River and Sudbury; while this section will be part of the completed Highway 400 route, at present it remains signed as Highway 69. The remaining gap between Carling and Murdock River will be opened in stages and is expected to be completed by 2017.

Route description[edit]

Highway 400 at exit 156 in Port Severn

While Highway 400 was originally known as the Toronto–Barrie Highway, the route has been extended well beyond Barrie to north of Parry Sound, and is projected to reach its eventual terminus in Sudbury by 2017.[3] As of 2009, the length of the highway is 209.0 km (129.9 mi) with an additional 152 km (94 mi) planned.[4]

Intersection of Highway 400 and 401, looking towards the south. The exit ramp to the 401 often gets congested.

Highway 400 begins at the Maple Leaf Drive overpass in Toronto, south of Highway 401.[2] South of that, it is known as Black Creek Drive, a high speed commuter road once planned as a southern extension of the 400. Highway 400 had been completed to Jane Street in 1966 (alongside the expansion of Highway 401) but plans to extend Highway 400 further south to the Gardiner Expressway were cancelled after several citizens groups protested the proposal in the 1970s. Black Creek Drive was built along the empty right-of-way and transferred to Metro Toronto in 1982.[5]

North of Maple Leaf Drive, the highway shifts northwestward, but then turns approximately northward at Highway 401. At the interchange with the 401, Highway 400 widens to twelve lanes. It continues north through Toronto, shedding two lanes at Finch Avenue.[6] The congested section between Highway 407 and Langstaff Road in suburban Vaughan features a short collector-express system.[7] The 400/407 junction is the only four-level stack interchange in Canada.[7]

Accidents between the distant interchanges on Highway 400 can cripple movement for several kilometres and hours

From Highway 401 to the Holland Marsh the freeway largely parallels the arterial / concession roads Weston Road and Jane Street, passing over the height of land at the Oak Ridges Moraine.[7] The highway passes through protected rural areas in northern York Region and encounters rolling countryside in Simcoe County south of Barrie.[6] The section near Barrie is subject to snowsqualls as it lies near the edge of Georgian Bay's snowbelt.

Within Barrie, Highway 400 passes through a trench which places it below grade for most of its length,[6] the route curving around downtown Barrie towards the north-east.[7] On the outskirts of Barrie, the through right-of-way continues as Highway 11 towards Orillia and North Bay, while Highway 400 exits and veers 90 degrees to the north-west towards Georgian Bay, travelling alongside the former Highway 93 to Craighurst.[8] At Craighurst the highway again turns north-east, skirting the Copeland Forest and the ski hills of the Oro Moraine, to meet Highway 12 in Coldwater.[8] From here, the highway takes on the Trans-Canada Highway designation, and follows a predominantly north-western heading along what was the route of Highway 69, toward the planned terminus of Sudbury.[9] In Muskoka and Parry Sound districts, Highway 400 is in most sections a twinned four-lane highway,[6] but several bypasses have and are being built to circumvent the communities along the way.[9][10] At Port Severn, the highway meets the rugged Canadian Shield, and winds its way north through the granite, often flanked by towering slabs of rock.[6]

History[edit]

Initial construction[edit]

Highway 400, along with Highway 401 and Highway 402, was one of the first modern freeways in Ontario. Planning for the Toronto–Barrie Highway, which would become Highway 400, began in 1945.[11] The two routes connecting Barrie with Toronto at the time, Highway 11 and Highway 27, were becoming congested. Grading on a new alignment between Weston Road and Jane Street was completed from Wilson Avenue to Highway 27 (Essa Road) by 1947.[1] The onset of the Korean War slowed construction on the highway considerably,[12] and it wasn't until December 1, 1951 that two lanes (one in each direction) would be opened to traffic. All four lanes were opened to traffic on July 1, 1952, at which point the highway was designated Highway 400.[13] The name was the scorn of one newspaper editor, who published his distaste for using numbers to name a highway.[14] The freeway featured a 9.1 m (30 ft) grass median.[15]

Shortly after its completion, Hurricane Hazel struck on October 15, 1954. The torrential downpours caused catastrophic damage to southern Ontario, amongst which was the flooding of Holland Marsh to a depth of 3.3 m (11 ft). Several bridges and sections of road were washed away by Hazel. The damaged highway and bridges were completely reconstructed after the water was pumped away.[1]

Highway 400 crossing the Holland Marsh, under construction in 1946
Same angle, Canada Day, 1967
Same angle, 2010

Expansion[edit]

By 1958 Highway 400 was extended north parallel with Highway 93 as a super two with at-grade intersections to Craighurst and construction had begun to extend it further to Highway 12 and Highway 103 at Coldwater.[16] Both sections opened to traffic on December 24, 1959.[17] For many years afterwards, and still today to older drivers, this portion of the 400 north of Barrie is referred to as the "400 Extension".

Plans were also conceived to extend the freeway south from Highway 401 to Eglinton Avenue, where it would join two new expressways: the Richview and the Crosstown Expressways.[18] These plans would never reach fruition, as public opposition to urban expressways cancelled most highway construction in Toronto by 1971.[19] Highway 400 would still open as far south as Jane Street on October 28, 1966 before the rest of the plans were shelved following the cancellation of the Spadina Expressway.[20] The province used the right-of-way in the Black Creek valley to construct a four-lane divided expressway with signalled intersections as far south as Eglinton Avenue. Originally known as the Northwest Arterial Road, the expressway was transferred to Metropolitan Toronto on March 1, 1983 and named Black Creek Drive. In exchange, the province was given the expropriated land purchased for Spadina south of Eglinton Avenue.[21]

Widening of Highway 400 began in 1971. An additional lane in either direction was created by reducing the 9.1 m median by 6 m (20 ft) and using 1.2 m (4 ft) of the shoulder on each side. The first section to be widened was from Highway 401 to Finch Avenue, which was widened to eight lanes. Soon thereafter, the section from Finch to Highway 88 was widened to six lanes. A year later, the six lane freeway was extended 41.8 km (26 mi) north to Highway 11.[15]

The two-lane highway north of Barrie was widened starting in 1977, necessitated by the increasing use of the highway by recreational tourists and vacationers. This work involved the construction of two southbound lanes parallel to the original, with a 30 metres (98 ft) median between them. In addition, at-grade intersections were converted into grade-separated interchanges. This work was completed as far as Highway 93 north of Craighurst by 1982. In 1980 construction began on four-laning the section from Highway 93 to Simcoe County Road 19,[22] which was completed by the end of 1982. During the summer of 1983, four-laning began between Simcoe County Roads 19 and 23, bypassing west of Coldwater. This was completed during the summer of 1985.[23]

Between 1985 and 1987, the pace of construction slowed temporarily as the foundations for the new structures over Matchedash Bay were compacted and settled. During the fall of 1987, a contract was awarded to extend the four-laning north to Waubaushene and to complete the interchange with Highway 12, first constructed during the late 1950s with the two-lane highway.[24] This work was completed a year later during the fall of 1988.[25] Several structures were constructed over the next few years. In 1989 construction began on the Matchedash Bay structures as well as the Canadian National Railway crossing north of Highway 12. Both were complete by the end of 1990. During 1991 construction began on the interchanges at Quarry Road and Port Severn Road, service roads between those interchanges and the southbound structure over the Severn River.[25][26]

Twinning Highway 69[edit]

Following the completion of Highway 400 to Port Severn, the next target became Parry Sound. In 1988, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario completed a study of the Highway 69 corridor between Muskoka Road 5 in Port Severn and Tower Road southwest of MacTier, a distance of approximately 45 km (28 mi). This work was carried out through the 1990s, reaching as far as Muskoka Road 38 (former Highway 660) by 1999.[27][28] The four-laning was extended north to the Musquash River in October 1999, although an interchange wasn't constructed at Muskoka Road 32/38 until October 2005.[9][29] However, a land claim dispute between the Government of Ontario and the Wahta Mohawk Territory prevented the twinning of Highway 69 between the Musquash and Moon Rivers. The Territorial Reserve did not oppose the construction of the highway; however, the land was unobtainable due to a technicality requiring a minimum voter turnout of 65 percent.[30]

Construction of the Parry Sound Bypass, a new alignment from Badger Road to the Seguin River, began with an interchange along Highway 518 at the site of the future freeway, which was completed during the autumn of 1999.[31] Construction south of the interchange to Badger Road started in November 1999, while the section north of the interchange to the Seguin River began three months later.[32]

On February 7, 2000, the government officially committed to complete Highway 400 to Parry Sound.[33] Work began on two projects as a result of this: a 26.5 km (16.5 mi) bypass of Highway 69 on a new alignment between the Moon River, south of MacTier, and Rankin Lake Road near Horseshoe Lake, as well as a 4 km (2.5 mi) segment connecting that to the Parry Sound Bypass.[34]

The first segment of freeway to be completed north of the Musquash River was the Parry Sound Bypass, which opened on November 1, 2001.[35] This section bypassed to the east of the old highway, now known as Oastler Park Drive.[8] However, it was numbered as Highway 69 for the moment. In October 2002, the section south of the Parry Sound Bypass to Rankin Lake Road was opened.[35] This was followed a year later on October 7 with the opening of the bypass of Highway 69 from the Moon River to Rankin Lake Road, connecting with the Parry Sound segment. At that point, the Highway 400 designation was extended north to the Seguin River. However, the Highway 69 designation remained in place as far south as the Musquash River.[36]

The remaining 8 km (5.0 mi) gap through the Wahta Mohawk Territory would eventually be constructed, starting in December 2004.[37] It opened to traffic during the summer of 2008,[38] completing the freeway south of Parry Sound. Since then, the Highway 69 designation has been removed south of Nobel.[2]

Since 2000[edit]

Through Parry Sound, Highway 400 passes through large granite rock cuts; portions of the median feature large outcroppings of these rocks

In the early 2000s, the junctions with Rutherford Road and Major Mackenzie Drive in Vaughan were extensively reconstructed to modern Parclo A4 configurations, and a new partial interchange was added for Bass Pro Mills Drive in 2004 to accommodate the opening of the Vaughan Mills shopping centre.

On October 27, 2010, one lane in either direction on the Nobel Bypass opened to traffic. The new four-lane bypass, which travels as far north as Highway 559, was fully opened in November. The former route of Highway 69 through the town was renamed as Nobel Drive and will be reduced in width from four to two lanes, with the decommissioned lanes to be converted into a recreational trail.[39] Some businesses in Nobel were affected after the opening of the new highway 400 realignment and had to be closed down.[40][41][42]

On February 27, 2014, a major snow squall affected Highway 400 in Innisfil with heavy wind gusts and near-zero visibility. A total of 96 vehicles were involved in a major collision that ensued near Innisfil Beach Road. Although no injuries were reported, the highway was closed for a day and buses were shuttled in to warm stranded motorists.[43]

Future[edit]

On June 28, 2005, it was officially confirmed that Highway 69 would be twinned and bypassed north to Highway 17 in Sudbury. This announcement was accompanied by a time line with the completion date set for 2017.[44] However, work was already underway in 2003 to expand Highway 69 south of Sudbury to four lanes.[45] As work is completed at the southern end near Nobel, the Highway 400 designation is being extended north.[3]

Nobel Bypass under construction north of Parry Sound
Similar angle following completion

Construction began on the segment from Sudbury southwards to Estaire in 2005,[46] while route planning studies were completed for the Estaire to Parry Sound segment. Portions of the route will be opened to traffic in segments as contracts are fulfilled; the segment between Sudbury and Estaire opened on November 12, 2009,[46][47] while the Nobel bypass from Parry Sound to Highway 559 opened October 26, 2010.[39] The remaining 115 km (71 mi) of two-lane highway between Highway 559 and Estaire is in the planning and engineering phase.[48] As the Sudbury segment of the freeway is discontinuous with the remainder of Highway 400, it will not be renumbered until the southern segment is connected with it.[35]

As one of the oldest 400-series freeways, several vintage overpasses have been demolished in recent years to accommodate the future expansion of Highway 400 to a ten-lane freeway in the section from Vaughan to Barrie. Sixteen of these historic structures, sub-standard by today's freeway requirements, remained as of summer 2009, with all slated for replacement in the near future. In order to preserve some of this heritage the Ministry of Transportation created a 1800mm x 1625mm reusable urethane mould of the provincial coat-of-arms from the 5th Line overpass located south of Bradford, which will be used to decorate the replacement structures.[49]

Services[edit]

There are four service centres located along Highway 400: Maple, King City, Cookstown and Barrie.[50] The centres were originally leased to and operated by several major gasoline distributors; however, those companies have chosen not to renew their leases as the terms end. In response, the MTO put the operation of the full network of service centres out for tender, resulting in a 50-year lease with Host Kilmer Service Centres, a joint venture between hospitality company HMSHost (a subsidiary of Autogrill) and Larry Tanenbaum's investment company Kilmer van Nostrand, which operates them under the ONroute brand.[51]

Three of the four service centres will be upgraded and will feature a Canadian Tire gas station, an HMSHost-operated convenience store known as "The Market", as well as fast food brands such as Tim Hortons, A&W and Burger King. The Vaughan service centre is not included in these plans.[52] The Barrie centre closed for reconstruction on October 19, 2010. The King City service centre relocated in October 2012. The Cookstown centre has its developments underway as of February 1, 2013.[53]

Service centres are located at the following points along Highway 400:

Location Name km[8] Direction Status[53]
Vaughan Maple 38 Southbound Will not be redeveloped at this time. Leased by Imperial Oil.
King King City 39 Northbound Reopened October 2012
Innisfil Cookstown 75 Southbound Closed for reconstruction as of February 1, 2013
Barrie Barrie 92 Northbound Reopened August 2013

An additional service centre is located at the Seguin Trail interchange (Exit 214) near Parry Sound; unlike the others, this location is not operated by or branded as ONroute. In all other locations along the highway, however, services must be accessed in towns near the highway rather than dedicated rest areas.

Exit list[edit]

The following table lists the major junctions along Highway 400, as noted by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.[2] 

Division Location km[2] Mile Exit Destinations Notes
 Highway 400 continues south as Black Creek Drive at Maple Leaf Drive overpass
Toronto 0.4 0.2 20 Jane Street
1.6 1.0 21  Highway 401 Signed as exits 21A (east) and 21B (west)
1.8 1.1 22 Wilson Avenue Access to Wilson was removed during the reconstruction of the interchange with Highway 401
6.0 3.7 25 Finch Avenue
8.1 5.0 27 Steeles Avenue Northbound exit and southbound entrance
York Vaughan
9.3 5.8 28  Highway 407
10.2 6.3 29  Regional Road 7 – Brampton, Markham
12.2 7.6 31[54]  Regional Road 72 (Langstaff Road) Northbound exit and southbound entrance; misidentified as Exit 30 on some maps[8]
32 Bass Pro Mills Drive Northbound exit and southbound entrance, access to Vaughan Mills mall
14.3 8.9 33  Regional Road 73 (Rutherford Road)
16.4 10.2 35  Regional Road 25 (Major Mackenzie Drive)
18.5 11.5 37  Regional Road 49 (Teston Road) Opened September 18, 2009[55]
King 24.8 15.4 43  Regional Road 11 (King Road) – Nobleton, King City
34.0 21.1 52  Regional Road 16 (Lloydtown-Aurora Road) – Schomberg, Aurora
37.2 23.1 55  Highway 9 west /  Regional Road 31 (Davis Drive) – Newmarket, Orangeville
Simcoe Bradford West Gwillimbury 58  County Road 8 (Canal Road) Right-in/right-out interchange
45.7 28.4 64 County Road 88 – Bradford, Bond Head
Innisfil 57.1 35.5 75  Highway 89 west / County Road 89 – Cookstown, Alliston
66.8 41.5 85  County Road 21 (Innisfil Beach Road) – Thornton, Barclay
Barrie 71.8 44.6 90 Mapleview Drive Formerly Molson Park Drive
75.6 47.0 94 Essa Road Formerly  Highway 27
78.0 48.5 96 Dunlop Street – Angus Signed as exits 96A (east) and 96B (west) northbound; formerly  Highway 90
80.4 50.0 98  Highway 26 (Bayfield St) – Stayner, Wasaga Beach Formerly  Highway 27
83.1 51.6 102 Duckworth Street
Springwater 85.8 53.3 105 Highway 400A – Orillia, North Bay Northbound left exit and southbound left entrance; signed as Highway 11 northbound, Highway 400 southbound
92.4 57.4 111  County Road 11 (Forbes Road) – Dalston, Midhurst
98.7 61.3 117 County Road 22 (Horseshoe Valley Road) – Craighurst
Oro-Medonte 102.2 63.5 121 County Road 93 Highway 93 north / County Road 93 (Penetanguishene Road) – Midland, Penetanguishene, Hillsdale
112.6 70.0 131 Mount St. Louis Road Exit for Mount Saint Louis Ski area
117.5 73.0 136 County Road 19 – Moonstone
120.1 74.6 137 Lower Big Chute Road – Coldwater Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Severn 122.9 76.4 141  Highway 12 east / County Road 23 (Vasey Road) – Coldwater, Fesserton, Waverley Trans-Canada Highway follows Highway 12 east and Highway 400 north
128.8 80.0 147  Highway 12 west – Midland, Waubaushene, Victoria Harbour
County Road 16 – Orillia
131.1 81.5 149 County Road 59 (Quarry Road)
135.1 83.9 153 Port Severn Road South – Port Severn
Muskoka Georgian Bay 137.2 85.3 156 District Road 5 (Muskoka Road / Port Severn Road North) – Port Severn, Honey Harbour
143.5 89.2 162 District Road 34 (White's Falls Road)
District Road 48 (South Bay Road) – Severn Falls
150.8 93.7 168 Georgian Bay Road, Crooked Bay Road
174 District Road 33 (South Gibson Lake Road)
162.3 100.8 177 District Road 32 (Go Home Lake Road)
District Road 38 – Bala
182 Iroquois Cranberry Growers Drive – Wahta Mohawk Territory
185 District Road 12 (12 Mile Bay Road)
171.1 106.3 189 Lake Joseph Road (MacTier, Gravenhurst) Formerly Highway 69
Parry Sound Seguin 189.6 117.8 207  Highway 141 – Rosseau, Huntsville
195.5 121.5 213 Rankin Lake Road
198.6 123.4 214 Seguin Trail Road, Horseshoe Lake Road
201.8 125.4 217 Oastler Park Drive, Badger Road
205.2 127.5 220  Highway 518 (Hunter Drive) – Orrville
Parry Sound 208.8 129.7 224 Bowes Street, McDougall Road
211.3 131.3 229 Parry Sound Drive
McDougall 213.9 132.9 231  Highway 124 (Centennial Drive)
219.0 136.1 237 Avro Arrow Road — Nobel
224.4 139.4 241  Highway 559 – Killbear Provincial Park
Carling 225.7 140.2
 Highway 400 continues north as  Highway 69
250 Woods Road
The Archipelago 259 Shebeshekong Road (Highway 7182)
266  Highway 644 / Site 9 Road
270  Highway 529 – Pointe au Baril
Unorganized Parry Sound 280 Harris Lake Road
291  Highway 529 / Highway 645 Specific alignment under review
307  Highway 522 Specific alignment under review
314 Indian Reserve of French River (access road)
Sudbury Killarney 322 Highway 607 / Hartley Bay Road
331  Highway 64
Unorganized Sudbury 339 Crooked Lake Road Delamere access road
The freeway section opened between Murdock River and Sudbury is not yet designated as Highway 400
347 Highway 637 Interchange opened October 2012.
359 Nelson Road Access to town of Estaire; opened in November 2009
Greater Sudbury 366  Highway 537 Opened in November 2009
374 Municipal Road 46 (Regent Street) / Estaire Road
380  Highway 17 Final phase to link to twinned Southeast Bypass
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
  •       Closed/former
  •       Unopened

References[edit]

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  48. ^ "Highway 69 Four Laning". McCormick Rankin Design. Retrieved July 21, 2010. 
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  50. ^ Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (September 7, 2011). "Highway Service Centres - Current Status" (PDF). Government of Ontario. Retrieved December 27, 2011. 
  51. ^ "HMSHost Corporation and Kilmer Van Nostrand Co. Limited Ink 50-Year Agreement to Build 23 World-Class Service Centres on Major Canadian Highways". CNW Group. April 7, 2010. Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  52. ^ "Ontario Finalizes Plans For Highway Service Centres". Brockville: Brock News. April 7, 2010. Retrieved April 9, 2010. 
  53. ^ a b Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (September 7, 2011). "Ontario’s New ONroute Highway Service Centres - Construction Schedule". Government of Ontario. Retrieved December 27, 2011. 
  54. ^ Google Inc. "Exit 31 on Highway 400". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. http://goo.gl/maps/XTHdR. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
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Bibliography
  • Shragge, John; Bagnato, Sharon (1984). From Footpaths to Freeways. Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Historical Committee. ISBN 0-7743-9388-2. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing

Preceded by
Ontario 69.svg Highway 69
Trans-Canada Highway
Ontario 400.svgHighway 400
Succeeded by
Ontario 12.svg Highway 12