Wonderland Road

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Wonderland Road is a major north-south arterial road in London, Ontario. It is also the busiest road in London, carrying over 45,000 vehicles between Springbank Drive and Riverside Drive as of 2002.[1]

History[edit]

Wonderland Road takes its name from the Wonderland Gardens concert hall located near Springbank Park. The present-day Wonderland Road corridor is made up of part or all of six London-area roads.

The original Wonderland Sideroad was a 3.24 km gravel road running between Southdale Road and the Thames River, with Wonderland Gardens located at the end of the road just before the river. In 1970, a major upgrade took place in conjunction with the new Westmount development, that saw the road widened to four lanes with a centre median south of Commissioners Road, and a new two-lane road south of Viscount Road that bypassed the existing road to the east, connecting at Southdale Road with the old Airport Road which ran south 2.5 km to Highway 135.

North of the Thames River, the modern-day Wonderland Road corridor consisted of: Hutton Sideroad, which existed from Riverside Drive 2.27 km north to the Sarnia Gravel Road; a north-south 1.32 km section of Sarnia Road which ran from Hutton Road and then continued westwards along today's Gainsborough Road; north of this point, Cameron Sideroad continued northward (3.51 km within the post 1993 city limits) to Highway 7. Hutton Sideroad passed under the Canadian National Railway tracks via a one-lane subway located slightly west of the current wider subway, which was constructed in the late 1950s. At some point in the 1970s, Sarnia Road was realigned to continue westward from Hutton Road along Springhill Road, and Hutton Road was extended northward along the former section of Sarnia Road and Cameron Road.

In 1977, a new four-lane bridge was opened connecting Wonderland Road south of the river to Hutton Road (at that time 5.0 km within city limits) north of the river. This bridge was named in memory of Londoner Guy Lombardo, who had recently died and had often played at nearby Wonderland Gardens. At the same time, a four-lane diversion was built to the west of the original alignment between Commissioners Road and Springbank Drive. Hutton Road was renamed Wonderland Road North. Wonderland Road was now a continuous four-lane facility from Viscount Road to Kingsway Avenue. The four-lane section was extended north to just beyond Oxford Street in 1982.

In 1987, a new four-lane bridge was built over the Canadian Pacific Railway just south of Sarnia Road, replacing a two-lane level crossing. The four-lane section of Wonderland Road was further extended to Gainsborough Road in 1996, and a small section south of Fanshawe Park Road was widened to four lanes in 1998.

A typical section of Highway 401 between Highways 4 and 402.

At the south end of the city, for many years Wonderland Road ended at Highway 135, later Exeter Road. The section between Southdale Road and Highway 135 was widened to four lanes in 1982 by Middlesex County, and the City of London widened the road north of Southdale to Viscount Road in the late 1980s. In 1997, a southerly extension joined Wonderland Road with 4.62 km of Bostwick Road, which also crossed Highway 402. An interchange was constructed at Highway 402 at the same time. Wonderland Road was separated by Highway 401 from the southernmost section to the Elgin County line, until 2015.

An interchange with Highway 401 and Wonderland Road opened in the fall of 2015.[2]

Future[edit]

Long term plans call for Wonderland Road to be widened to six lanes from a future interchange from Highway 401 to London's north city limits.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ City of London (Year 2002 traffic volumes). "City of London Traffic Volume Data". Archived from the original on November 25, 2010. Retrieved April 28, 2010. Did you know that Wonderland Road between Riverside Drive and Springbank Drive is London's most travelled section of roadway carrying 45,000 vehicles per day?  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ Daniszewski, Hank (November 12, 2015). "New 401 link drives opportunity to SW London, city says". London Free Press. Retrieved March 1, 2016. 
  3. ^ City of London (April 5, 2001). "Long Term CorridorProtection Study" (PDF). Retrieved April 28, 2010. 6-Lane Arterials: Wonderland Road- Sunningdale-401