Ontario Highway 402
Highway 402 highlighted in red
|Length:||102.5 km (63.7 mi)|
|West end:||I-69 / I-94 at Canada–United States border on Blue Water Bridge in Point Edward|
| Highway 40 – Sarnia
Highway 4 – London
|East end:||Highway 401 – London|
|Major cities:||Sarnia, London|
King's Highway 402, commonly referred to as Highway 402 and historically as the Blue Water Bridge Approach, is a 400-series highway in the Canadian province of Ontario that connects the Blue Water Bridge international crossing near Sarnia to Highway 401 in London. It is one of two vital trade links between Ontario and the Midwestern United States. The freeway is four-laned and controlled access for nearly its entire length, except on the approach to the Blue Water Bridge, where it widens.
Although Highway 402 was one of the original 400-series highways when it was designated in 1953, it was not completed until 1982, when the final link between Highway 81 and Highway 2 opened to traffic. The freeway originally did not exit the Sarnia city limits, and merged into Highway 7 near the present Highway 40 interchange. In 1972, construction began to extend Highway 402 between Sarnia and London; this work was carried out over a decade. The removal of an intersection at Front Street in Sarnia made the entire route a controlled-access highway.
Motorists crossing into Michigan at the western end have direct access to Interstate 69 (I-69) and Interstate 94 (I-94) into Port Huron; motorists crossing onto the Canadian side from the east end of I-69 and I-94 have access to Toronto via Highway 401, and onwards to Montreal via A-20 in Quebec. The only town along Highway 402 between Sarnia and London is Strathroy.
The Blue Water Bridge crossing has six lanes of bridge traffic as well as non-stop freeway access, providing a quicker route over the busier Ambassador Bridge crossing in Windsor, which features over ten traffic lights leading to the bridge. However, construction of a new route known as the Rt. Honourable Herb Gray Parkway began in August 2011, and will provide a direct freeway connection into Detroit via the Detroit River International Crossing by 2020. Across the Blue Water Bridge, Highway 402 continues in Michigan as Interstates 69 and 94. With the exception of the Front Street interchange in Sarnia, which is a hybrid of a diamond and Parclo B-2 interchange, the freeway uses the Parclo A-4 design throughout its length. Although the freeway passes through Sarnia, it is not intended to operate as a commuter highway; the westbound lanes are signed as "Bridge to USA" instead of "Highway 402".
The freeway begins on the Canadian side of the Blue Water Bridge, descending over the village of Point Edward. After passing through a customs plaza, it enters Sarnia and travels parallel to and north of Exmouth Street through the city. Near the eastern limits, the freeway curves to the northeast to bypass its original alignment. It crosses the Howard Watson Nature Trail, a mixed-use recreational trail that was converted from a Canadian National Railway (CNR) line in 1988 as a result of the efforts of Lambton Wildlife Inc. The highway curves back to its east–west orientation at an interchange with Highway 40. It exits the city as it passes south of Sarnia Chris Hadfield Airport.
Now parallel and north of London Line, the former route of Highway 7 (the predecessor route between Sarnia and London), the freeway jogs north to travel along the back lot line of farmland fronting London Line and the concession road north of Highway 402. In this manner, the freeway did not divide any farms when it was constructed, instead running between them. It meets Lambton County Road 21 (Oil Heritage Road), the northern terminus of the Oil Heritage Route, north of the town of Wyoming. The county road is also a former southern extension of Highway 21, which itself begins as Forest Line 9.3 km (5.8 mi) to the east. Highway 21 is also known as the Bluewater Route, as most of its length is parallel to the shore of Lake Huron.
After passing an interchange with Forest Line, the freeway is crossed by London Line and momentarily diverges from its straight alignment to dip south of Warwick. It continues 25 km (16 mi) east through large patches of farmland, then meets with Middlesex County Road 81 (Victoria Street) at an interchange as it passes north of Strathroy. Shortly thereafter it curves to the southeast and zig-zags towards London, bisecting farms and dividing woodlands. The freeway passes to the west of the town of Delaware and curves east. It enters London and meets interchanges with Highway 4 south of Lambeth, as well as with Wonderland Road before merging into Highway 401. Access to westbound and from eastbound Highway 401 is provided via Highway 4.
Planning for the route that would become Highway 402 began following the completion of the Blue Water Bridge in 1938. A divided highway was constructed through Sarnia following World War II; it was completed and designated in 1953. The intent to extend the route to Highway 401 was announced in 1957. However, while some preliminary work began in the early 1960s, it would take until 1968 for a preferred route to be announced, and until 1972 for construction to begin. Work was carried out through the remainder of the 1970s, and the freeway was completed and ceremonially opened in late 1982. Since completion as a four lane route, expansion work has been concentrated on the portion of the freeway in Sarnia, approaching the border crossing.
Highway 402 is one of the original 400-series highways, having been numbered a year after Highway 400 and Highway 401, in 1953. The short 6.1 km (3.8 mi) dual highway was built as an approach to the Blue Water Bridge, which itself opened to traffic October 10, 1938. As such, the highway was appropriately named the Blue Water Bridge Approach. Construction began in 1939. However, like many other road projects, World War II halted construction. In 1947, a new survey was undertaken; construction resumed by 1952. The approach road was opened in 1953, at which point the route was designated Highway 402. It featured an interchange with Christina Street and at-grade intersections with Front Street, Indian Road and Modeland Road (the Highway 40 Sarnia bypass).
Ultimately, Highway 402 was designated with the intent of extending it to Highway 401. This was formally announced by the Department of Highways in late 1957. Construction on a new grade-separated intersection with Modeland Road began in 1963. Then, on February 28, 1968, a 98 km (61 mi) extension towards London was officially announced by Minister of Highways, George Gomme. It was decided to construct the extension on a new right-of-way, as had been done with most freeways constructed after Highway 400. East of the Murphy Road overpass, Highway 402 was re-aligned to bypass the interchange with Highway 40 constructed in 1964; Exmouth Street was redirected to connect with Highway 7 (London Line) at that junction, and Quinn Street now follows the former route of the highway. For the new Highway 402, an overpass crossing was required with the then-CNR line (now the Howard Watson Nature Trail) as well as an interchange with the newly twinned Highway 40 just north of the 1964 interchange. Construction east of Highway 40 began in 1972.
Initial construction began near Highway 7 in 1974, under two contracts extending 23.2 km (14.4 mi) westward. A third contract to bridge the gap between that project and Sarnia was awarded in 1975. On October 13, 1978, Highway 402 was opened to traffic between Highway 40 and Highway 21. By the end of that year, construction was progressing on the section between Highway 21 and Highway 81 near Strathroy, as well as on the section connecting Highway 2 with Highway 401. The section between Highway 21 and Highway 81 north of Strathroy was the next to be completed, and was opened to traffic on November 26, 1979. On November 17, 1981, the section between London and Delaware was completed, including the interchange at Highway 401. It forced eastbound drivers to exit at Longwoods Road (Highway 2). Construction was already underway on the final section between Strathroy and Delaware at this point.
The opening of the section between Highways 2 and 81 completed Highway 402 from London to the Blue Water Bridge. In addition, the removal of the Front Street intersection in Sarnia made the entire route a controlled-access highway. Both were completed in time for the official opening, held in Sarnia on November 10, 1982.
On Monday, December 13, 2010, a whiteout caused by lake-effect snow squalls left an 80 km (50 mi) stretch of Highway 402 closed for several days. Lambton County officials declared a state of emergency. Although the entire distance between Sarnia and London is subject to occasional snow squalls and whiteout conditions, they usually dissipate or move in less than a day. The exceptional conditions at that time were caused by a snow squall which remained stationary over several days, dropping up to two metres (6 ft) of snow in some parts of the area. Defence Minister Peter MacKay sent two Canadian Forces Griffon helicopters to Sarnia, as well as a C-130 Hercules to aid in the search-and-rescue efforts. The hospitality of locals in providing shelter for stranded motorists was the primary focus of local media coverage. The highway was reopened to traffic on the morning of December 16. A single death was reported; that of a man who succumbed to hypothermia on a nearby county road.
Highway 402 was widened in the Sarnia area from four to six lanes due to extensive traffic backups from the bridge crossing towards the USA; the westbound lanes were widened by two lanes, while eastbound capacity remains unchanged. The new four lane roadway is divided into specific lanes for cars, trucks (two lanes), and local traffic, and includes a marked lane for NEXUS card holders as well. The new lanes begin just before the Murphy Road overpass with a local lane breaking away for interchange access; all travelers wishing to exit the highway from this point must be traveling in this lane. Construction began August 4, 2009, between the Blue Water Bridge and Lambton County Road 26 (Mandaumin Road) and included the reconstruction of several bridges, as well as completely rebuilding the Christina Street exit to accommodate southbound access. Work was completed in mid-2012.
On January 5, 2013, a temporary blockade was created at the Blue Water Bridge as part of the "Idle No More" protests by First Nations groups. The blockade was known in advance and was planned to occur during the noon hour. Lambton OPP monitored the protest by walking alongside the protestors. Traffic resumed flowing normally by 1:30 p.m. While Highway 402 itself was not closed, the protest did back up traffic onto the highway causing congestion in the areas of Front Street and Christina Street.
Interstate 69 and Interstate 94 continue toward Flint, MI and Detroit, respectively
|Lambton||Point Edward||0.7||0.4||1||Front Street||Formerly Highway 40B|
|Sarnia||1.2||0.7||2||Christina Street||No eastbound exit; access to Christina Street South from the westbound exit opened in 2012|
|3.0||1.9||3||County Road 29 (Indian Road)|
|5.7||3.5||6||Highway 40 (Modeland Road)|
|8.5||5.3||9||Airport Road||Access to Sarnia Chris Hadfield Airport|
|Plympton–Wyoming||15.2||9.4||15||County Road 26 (Mandaumin Road)|
|24.6||15.3||25||County Road 21 / County Road 30 (Oil Heritage Road) – Wyoming||Formerly Highway 21 south|
|Warwick||34.0||21.1||34||Highway 21 north / County Road 8 (Lambton Road) – Forest||Highway 21 was concurrent with Highway 402 west to Oil Heritage Road, prior to municipal downloading in 1997|
|44.3||27.5||44||County Road 79 (Nauvoo Road) – Watford, Arkona||Formerly Highway 79; new eastbound entrance ramp was completed in 2011|
|Middlesex||Adelaide Metcalfe||55.5||34.5||56||County Road 6 (Kerwood Road) – Kerwood|
|64.8||40.3||65||County Road 81 (Centre Road) – Parkhill, Strathroy||Formerly Highway 81|
|Strathroy-Caradoc||69.0||42.9||69||County Road 39 (Hickory Drive) – Strathroy|
|81.6||50.7||82||County Road 14 (Glendon Drive) – Mt. Brydges, Komoka||Access to Parkhouse Drive|
|85.5||53.1||86||County Road 2 (Longwoods Road) – Melbourne, Delaware||Formerly Highway 2|
|London||97.6||60.6||98||Highway 4 – London, St. Thomas, Lambeth|
|99.8||62.0||100||Wonderland Road||Interchange opened in 1998; ramps added to existing overpass|
|102.5||63.7||103||Highway 401 east – Toronto||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (2007). "Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) counts". Government of Ontario. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
- "The Blue Water Bridge". Transportation. The Corporation Of The City of Sarnia. October 24, 2007. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
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- Built Heritage, Cultural Landscape and Planning Section (January 2006) (pdf). Heritage Impact Assessment - Christina Street Bridge over Highway 402, Sarnia (Report). Archaeological Services Inc. p. 4. http://www.historicbridges.org/concrete/christina/historical.pdf. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
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- Annual Report (Construction ed.). Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1982–1983. p. 76.
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- "Construction of the Original Span". Blue Water Bridge Canada. February 22, 2008. Retrieved February 28, 2014. "After dedication ceremonies on October 7th, 8th, and 9th, the Bridge was opened for regular traffic on October 10, 1938."
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- "Construction Division - South-Western Area". Annual Report. Ontario Department of Highways. March 31, 1965. p. 47.
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- Highway Construction Program: King's and Secondary Highways. Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1975–1976. p. xi.
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- "New Section Opens on Highway to U.S". The Toronto Star. November 18, 1981. p. A25.
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- McArthur, Donald; Kristy, Dylan (December 14, 2010). "Airlift Begins for Motorists Stranded on Hwy. 402 in Lambton County". The Star (Windsor).
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- The Windsor Star (December 16, 2010). "Hypothermia Killed Stranded Ontario Driver". The National Post (Toronto). Retrieved December 1, 2011.
- Stang, Ron (February 23, 2012). "Highway 402 expansion in Sarnia, Ontario results in unique reconfiguration". Daily Commercial News. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
- Jeffrey, Tara (January 5, 2013). "Hundreds join Blue Water Bridge blockade". The Observer (Sarnia/Point Edward: Sun Media). Retrieved March 5, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ontario Highway 402.|
- Google Maps: Highway 402 route
- Highway 402 @ Asphaltplanet.ca
- Video of the entire route of Highway 402
- Video of Highway 402 and Bluewater Bridge in Sarnia