Ontario Highway 402

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Highway 402 shield

Highway 402
Highway 402 highlighted in red
Route information
Length: 102.5 km[1] (63.7 mi)
History: Planned: 1938
Designated: 1953
Completed: 1982
Major junctions
West end: I-69 / I-94 at Canada–United States border on Blue Water Bridge in Point Edward
East end:  Highway 401 – London
Counties: Lambton, Middlesex
Major cities: Sarnia, London
Highway system
Highway 401 Highway 403

King's Highway 402, commonly referred to as Highway 402 and historically as the Blue Water Bridge Approach, is a freeway 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 multiple trade links between Ontario and the Midwestern United States. Its 400-series number denotes a King's Highway with controlled access. It is four lanes 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.

Route description[edit]

Highway 402 has a wide grass median separating the carriageways for the majority of its length.[2]

The Blue Water Bridge crossing has six lanes of bridge traffic and non-stop freeway access,[3] therefore providing a quicker route than the busier Ambassador Bridge crossing in Windsor, which features over ten traffic lights leading to the bridge, although that situation is expected to be rectified after the planned Gordie Howe International Bridge is constructed.[4][a] Across the Blue Water Bridge, Highway 402 continues in Michigan as I-69 and I-94.[3] 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.[8] Although the freeway passes through Sarnia, it is not intended to operate as a commuter highway.

The freeway begins on the Canadian side of the Blue Water Bridge, descending over the village of Point Edward.[9] 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.[8] It crosses the Howard Watson Nature Trail, a mixed-use recreational trail that was converted from a Canadian National Railway (CNR) line in 1988.[10] The highway curves back to its east–west orientation at an interchange with Highway 40.[8] It exits the city as it passes south of Sarnia Chris Hadfield Airport.[11]

Now parallel and north of London Line, the former route of Highway 7 (the predecessor route between Sarnia and London),[12] the freeway jogs north to travel along the back lot line of farmland fronting London Line and the concession road north of Highway 402.[13] 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 kilometres (5.8 mi) to the east.[8][12] Highway 21 is also known as the Bluewater Route, as most of its length is parallel to the shore of Lake Huron.[14]

The eastern terminus of Highway 402 with Highway 401 in London

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 kilometres (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.[8][15] 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.[8]


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.[16] The Department of Highways announced its intent to extend the route to Highway 401 in 1957.[17] However, while some preliminary work began in the early 1960s, it would take until 1968 for a preferred route to be announced,[18] and until 1972 for construction to begin.[19] Work was carried out through the remainder of the 1970s, and the freeway was completed and ceremonially opened in late 1982.[20] Since completion as a four-lane route, expansion work has been concentrated on the portion of the freeway in Sarnia approaching the border crossing.[21]

Aerial view of Highway 402 passing through Sarnia; the Blue Water Bridge is visible. Lake Huron, to the upper right, is largely covered in ice.


Highway 402 is one of the original 400-series highways. It was numbered in 1953, a year after Highway 400 and Highway 401.[16] The short 6.1-kilometre (3.8 mi) dual highway was built as an approach to the Blue Water Bridge, which itself opened to traffic October 10, 1938.[22] As such, the highway was 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).[16]

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.[17] Construction on a new grade-separated intersection with Modeland Road began in 1963.[23][24] On February 28, 1968, a 98-kilometre (61 mi) extension towards London was officially announced by Minister of Highways George Gomme.[18] 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.[25] For the new Highway 402, an overpass crossing was required with the then-CNR line (now the Howard Watson Nature Trail) and an interchange with the newly twinned Highway 40 just north of the 1964 interchange. Construction east of Highway 40 began in 1972.[19]

Highway 402 facing east towards the Modeland Road intersection in 1959. In the distance beyond the intersection, the two carriageways converge into Highway 7. Modeland Road was reconstructed as an interchange by 1963.

Under two construction contracts, construction of 23.2 kilometres (14.4 mi) of Highway 402 began near Highway 7 in 1974.[26] A third contract to bridge the gap between that project and Sarnia was awarded in 1975.[27] On October 13, 1978, Highway 402 was opened to traffic between Highway 40 and Highway 21.[28] 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.[29] The section between Highway 21 and Highway 81 north of Strathroy was the next to be completed; it was opened to traffic on November 26, 1979.[30] 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.[31]

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 in Sarnia on November 10, 1982.[20]

Highway 402 westbound in Sarnia; lanes are separated to split local traffic from international/NEXUS traffic bound for the Blue Water Bridge. This allows the highway to function locally during long border delays.

Since completion[edit]

On Monday, December 13, 2010, a whiteout caused by lake-effect snow squalls left an 80-kilometre (50 mi) stretch of Highway 402 closed for several days.[32] 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.[32] Defence Minister Peter MacKay sent two Canadian Forces Griffon helicopters and a C-130 Hercules to Sarnia to aid in the search-and-rescue efforts.[33] The hospitality of locals in providing shelter for stranded motorists was the primary focus of local media coverage.[34] The highway was reopened to traffic on the morning of December 16.[35] A single death was reported; a man succumbed to hypothermia on a nearby county road.[36]

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, local traffic, and NEXUS card holders.[37] The new lanes begin just before the Murphy Road overpass with a local lane breaking away for interchange access; all travellers wishing to exit the highway from this point must be travelling in this lane.[38] Construction began August 4, 2009,[21] 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 by the end of 2012.[37][38] Between 2004 and 2013, the speed limit along the westbound lanes from Airport Road westward were reduced from the standard 100 kilometres per hour (60 mph). However, following the reconstruction, the speed limit was raised between Indian Road and Airport Road on June 20, 2013.[39]

On January 5, 2013, a temporary vehicular roadblock 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 protesters. 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.[40] Later that year, another protest was held west of Strathroy on October 19, advocating against wind turbine construction due to the health effects experienced by those living near them. The rolling protest of about 150 vehicles, including farm equipment, was monitored by the OPP and required intermittent ramp closures to the westbound lanes.[41]

Exit list[edit]

The following table lists the major junctions along Highway 402, as noted by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.[1] 

Division Location km[1] mi Exit[8] Destinations Notes
St. Clair River
Canada-United States border
0.0 0.0 I-94 west / I-69 west – Detroit, Flint Continuation into Michigan
Blue Water Bridge (tolled)
Lambton Point Edward 0.7 0.43 1 Front Street Formerly Highway 40B
Sarnia 1.2 0.75 2 Christina Street No eastbound exit; access to Christina Street South from the westbound exit opened in 2012[38]
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[42]
44.3 27.5 44 County Road 79 (Nauvoo Road) – Watford, Arkona Formerly Highway 79
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
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
  •       Tolled

See also[edit]


  1. ^ However, construction of a new route known as the Rt Hon. Herb Gray Parkway began in August 2011;[5] it will provide a direct freeway connection into Detroit via the Detroit River International Crossing by 2020.[6][7]


  1. ^ a b Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (2010). "Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) counts". Government of Ontario. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  2. ^ Google (April 28, 2014). "Highway 402 route from Sarnia to London" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Transportation". The Blue Water Bridge. The Corporation of the City of Sarnia. October 24, 2007. Retrieved February 21, 2011. 
  4. ^ Parker, Michael; Diamond, Gerald (December 2005). Air Quality Assessment Related to Traffic Congestion at Sarnia's Blue Water Bridge (PDF) (Report). Ontario Ministry of the Environment. p. 10. Archived from the original on March 5, 2014. Retrieved February 28, 2014. 
  5. ^ Doelen, Chris Vander (May 7, 2011). "Parkway Work to Start in August, MPP Says". The Windsor Star. Retrieved January 2, 2012. 
  6. ^ Detroit River International Crossing Study team (May 1, 2008). "The DRIC Announces Preferred Access Road" (Press release). URS Corporation. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  7. ^ Battagello, Dave (May 22, 2013). "Canada to Start Buying Property in Delray for DRIC Bridge". Windsor Star. Retrieved August 4, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g MapArt (2010). Ontario Back Road Atlas (Map). 1:250,000. Oshawa, ON: Peter Heiler. pp. 12–15. § T7–U17. ISBN 978-1-55198-226-7. 
  9. ^ Visit Point Edward (n.d.). Tourist Information Map (Map). Scale not given. Visit Point Edward. Retrieved February 21, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Lambton Wildlife Projects". Howard Watson Nature Trail. Lambton Wildlife Inc. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved February 11, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Directions". Sarnia Chris Hadfield Airport. Archived from the original on April 30, 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Cartography Section (January 1, 1990). Ontario Road Map (Map). 1:700,000. Ministry of Transportation of Ontario. § P2. 
  13. ^ Google (February 21, 2011). "Satellite view of Highway 402 east of Sarnia; note its position midway between London Line and Michigan Line" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved February 21, 2011. 
  14. ^ Whipp, Charles (1983). Road to Destiny: A History of Highway 21. Petrolia, Ontario: Lambton Editorial Associates. 
  15. ^ "Municipality of Stathroy-Caradoc". Middlesex County. Archived from the original on February 9, 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2011. 
  16. ^ a b c Built Heritage, Cultural Landscape and Planning Section (January 2006). "2.0 Background History". Heritage Impact Assessment: Christina Street Bridge over Highway 402, Sarnia (PDF) (Report). Archaeological Services Inc. p. 4. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b "Sarnia Link to 401 in Project". The Windsor Daily Star. September 12, 1957. p. 20. Retrieved December 15, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b "Sarnia to London (Hwy. 402)" (Press release). Ontario Department of Highways. February 28, 1968. 
  19. ^ a b Highway Construction Program: King's and Secondary Highways. Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1972–1973. p. xi. 
  20. ^ a b Annual Report (Construction ed.). Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1982–1983. p. 76. 
  21. ^ a b Carruthers, Dale (June 10, 2010). "Highway 402 on Track". The Observer. Sarnia. Retrieved February 28, 2014. 
  22. ^ "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. 
  23. ^ Google (September 7, 2014). "Old Modeland interchange south of current interchange" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  24. ^ Annual Report (Construction Division: South-Western Area ed.). Ontario Department of Highways. March 31, 1965. p. 47. 
  25. ^ Google (June 24, 2010). "Quinn Drive: Former Highway 402 alignment" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved June 24, 2010. 
  26. ^ Highway Construction Program: King's and Secondary Highways. Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1975–1976. p. xi. 
  27. ^ Highway Construction Program: King's and Secondary Highways. Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1976–1977. p. x. 
  28. ^ Public and Safety Information Branch (October 13, 1978). "Phase Two of Highway 402 Officially Opened October 13" (Press release). Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 
  29. ^ Cartography Section (1978–79). Ontario Road Map (Map). 1:800,000. Ministry of Transportation and Communications. § L18–M20. 
  30. ^ Public and Safety Information Branch (November 26, 1979). "Official Opening of Highway 402 (Phase III) Warwick to Highway 81" (Press release). Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 
  31. ^ "New Section Opens on Highway to US". The Toronto Star. November 18, 1981. p. A25. 
  32. ^ a b Scott, Cameron (December 15, 2010). "What is Lake Effect Snow". Sciences 360. Archived from the original on July 4, 2014. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  33. ^ McArthur, Donald; Kristy, Dylan (December 14, 2010). "Airlift Begins for Motorists Stranded on Hwy. 402 in Lambton County". The Star. Windsor. 
  34. ^ CTV.ca News Staff (December 14, 2010). "Altruistic Locals a Saving Grace for Stranded Motorists". Winnipeg. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2011. 
  35. ^ Helms, Matt (December 16, 2010). "Canadian Highway Reopens After Snow Closure". Detroit Free Press. 
  36. ^ The Windsor Star (December 16, 2010). "Hypothermia Killed Stranded Ontario Driver". The National Post. Toronto. Retrieved December 1, 2011. 
  37. ^ a b Gordon, Larry (January 21, 2013). "Signs Help Stream Traffic". BlackburnNews. Blackburn Radio. Archived from the original on April 29, 2014. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  38. ^ a b c Stang, Ron (February 23, 2012). "Highway 402 Expansion in Sarnia, Ontario Results in Unique Reconfiguration". Daily Commercial News. Archived from the original on March 5, 2014. Retrieved February 28, 2014. 
  39. ^ Chaves, Stephanie (June 21, 2013). "Signs of Change on 402". BlackburnNews. Blackburn Radio. Archived from the original on April 29, 2014. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  40. ^ Jeffrey, Tara (January 5, 2013). "Hundreds Join Blue Water Bridge Blockade". London Free Press. Sarnia/Point Edward. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  41. ^ Martin, Chip (October 19, 2013). "More Than 150 Vehicles Take to Hwy. 402 for Mass Rally Against Wind Turbines". London Free Press. Sarnia/Point Edward. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  42. ^ Ministry of Transportation and Communications (April 1, 1989). Provincial Highways Distance Table. Government of Ontario. p. 47. ISSN 0825-5350. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata