Ontario Highway 401

Ontario Highway 401

Highway 401 shield _A Macdonald–Cartier Freeway reassurance marker A Highway of Heroes reassurance marker with a red poppy flower in place of a number. Above that is the text Highway of Heroes, and below it SUPPORT OUR TROOPS.

Highway 401
Macdonald–Cartier Freeway
Highway of Heroes
Highway 401 runs along southern Ontario connecting Windsor, Toronto and the Quebec border.
Highway 401 (in red) within Southern Ontario.
Route information
Maintained by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario
Length: 816.6 km[2][a] (507.4 mi)
History: Proposed 1938
Opened December 1947 – October 11, 1968[1]
Major junctions
West end:  Highway 3 to Windsor
   Highway 402 in London
 Highway 403 near Woodstock
Highway 407 near Milton
  Highway 403 / Highway 410 in Mississauga
 Highway 427 in Toronto
 Highway 409 in Toronto
 Highway 400 in Toronto
Don Valley Parkway / Highway 404
to downtown Toronto / Newmarket
 Highway 416 towards Ottawa
East end: A-20 towards Montreal, QC
Major cities: Windsor, London, Kitchener, Mississauga, Toronto, Oshawa, Kingston
Highway system

Ontario provincial highways
400-series • Former

Highway 400 Highway 402

King's Highway 401, also known by its official name as the Macdonald–Cartier Freeway and colloquially as the four-oh-one,[3] is a 400-Series Highway in the Canadian province of Ontario stretching 816.6 kilometres (507.4 mi) from Windsor to the Quebec border. The segment of Highway 401 passing through Toronto is the busiest highway in North America,[4] and one of the widest and busiest in the world.[5][6] Together with Quebec Autoroute 20, it forms the transportation backbone of the Quebec City – Windsor Corridor, along which over half of Canada's population resides. The entire route is maintained by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) and patrolled by the Ontario Provincial Police. The posted speed limit is 100 km/h (62 mph) throughout its length.

Three individual highways were renumbered "Highway 401" by the end of 1952: the Toronto Bypass between Weston Road and Highway 11 (Yonge Street); Highway 2A between West Hill and Newcastle; and the Scenic Highway between Gananoque and Brockville, now known as the Thousand Islands Parkway. These three sections of highway were 11.8 km (7.3 mi), 54.7 km (34.0 mi) and 41.2 km (25.6 mi) long, respectively, at the time of their assumption. Highway 401 became fully navigable from Windsor to the Quebec border in 1964. In 1965, it was given a second designation, the Macdonald–Cartier Freeway, in honour of the fathers of Confederation. By the end of 1968, the Gananoque–Brockville section was bypassed and the final intersection grade-separated near Kingston, making Highway 401 a freeway for its entire 816 km (507 mi) length. On August 24, 2007, the portion of the highway between Glen Miller Road in Trenton and the Don Valley Parkway/Highway 404 Junction in Toronto was designated the Highway of Heroes, as the road is travelled by a funeral convoy for fallen Canadian Forces personnel from CFB Trenton to the coroner's office in Toronto.

Route description

Highway 401 extends across Southwestern, Central and Eastern Ontario. In foresight of the future expansion of the highway, the planners purchased a 91.4-metre-wide (300 ft) right-of-way along the entire length. Generally the highway occupies only a portion of this allotment.[7] It is one of the world's busiest highways;[5] a 2008 analysis stated that the annual average daily traffic (AADT) count between Weston Road and Highway 400 in Toronto was approximately 450,000,[2] while a second study estimates that over 500,000 vehicles travel that section on some days.[4] This makes it the busiest roadway in North America, surpassing the Santa Monica Freeway in Los Angeles, Interstate 10 (I-10) in Houston and I-75 in Atlanta.[8] The just-in-time auto parts delivery systems of the highly integrated auto industry of Michigan and Ontario have contributed to the highway's status as the busiest truck route in the world,[9] carrying 60% of vehicular trade between Canada and the US.[8]

Highway 401 also features the busiest multi-structure bridge in North America, located at Hogg's Hollow in Toronto.[9] The four bridges, two for each direction with the collector and express lanes, carried an average of 373,700 vehicles daily in 2006.[2] The highway is one of the major backbones of a network in the Great Lakes region, connecting the populous Quebec City – Windsor corridor with Michigan, New York and central Ontario's cottage country.[10] It is the principal connection between Toronto and Montreal, becoming Autoroute 20 at the Quebec border.[11]

Highway 401: the Macdonald–Cartier Freeway widens to six lanes at Highway 402 in London

Southwestern Ontario

Though Highway 401 does not physically extend the last few kilometres to Detroit,[a][12] a proposed Windsor–Detroit border crossing may result in Highway 401 connecting directly to the border as early as 2013.[13] At present, Highway 401 begins at Huron Church Road (formerly Highway 3) in Windsor,[14] with four lanes diverging north and leaving Talbot Road (Highway 3) at Howard Avenue. At Dougall Avenue, the highway turns east, widens to six lanes and exits Windsor.[15] From here, Highway 401 mostly parallels the former route of Highway 98 from Windsor to Tilbury.[14]

The topography in southwestern Ontario is flat and the land use primarily agricultural, taking advantage of the fertile clay soil deposited throughout the region.[16][17] The primary river through the region is the Thames River, which drains the second largest watershed in southern Ontario, though several smaller creeks are interspersed throughout the region. Southwestern Ontario is also home to some of the few remaining stands of Carolinian forest.[18]

From Tilbury, the highway loses its tall wall median barrier and narrows to four lanes, following lot lines laid between concession roads in a plan designed to limit damage to the sensitive agricultural lands through which the highway runs.[19] Due to fatigue caused by the lack of driver engagement along the flat and straight lengths of highway,[20] the section of Highway 401 from Windsor to London (especially west of Tilbury) has become known for deadly car accidents and pile-ups, earning it the nickname Carnage Alley.[21] As the highway approaches London, Highway 402 merges in,[15] resulting in a six lane cross-section.[22][23] Within London, it intersects the city's two municipal expressways, Highbury Avenue and the Veterans Memorial Parkway.[24]

The section between London and Woodstock generally parallels the former Highway 2 but lies on the south side of the Thames River.[15] While the topography in this area is less flat, the highway is generally straight. This part of Highway 401 often experiences heavy snowsqualls in early winter, sometimes extending as far east as Toronto. To the south of Woodstock, Highway 401 curves northeast and encounters the western terminus of Highway 403.[24] The highway heads towards Kitchener and Cambridge, where it encounters Highway 8 and returns to its eastward orientation.[15][25] East of Kitchener, the highway meanders towards Milton, passing through hills and cut rock along the way.[26]

Greater Toronto Area

"A view of a wide freeway from the side. The freeway is divided into four segments, each of which contains three lanes (up to five in some places). The vehicles within the two sections nearest the camera are travelling away into the distance, whereas the vehicles within two sections further from the camera are approaching. Several signs dot the right side of the freeway, and two overhead gantries (also holding signs) are also visible."
Throughout the Greater Toronto Area, Highway 401 uses a collector-express roadway configuration, ranging from 12 to 18 lanes wide, to manage its high traffic volumes

As Highway 401 approaches the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), it descends through the ecologically protected Niagara Escarpment to the west of Milton.[27][28] After passing through the town, it enters the western side of Toronto's Greenbelt, a zone around Toronto protected from development.[27] After this 10 km (6.2 mi) gap, the highway interchanges with the Highway 407 Express Toll Route and enters the first urbanized section of the GTA, passing through only a few rural areas between the cities of Mississauga and Oshawa.[15][29] Within the GTA, the highway passes several major shopping malls including Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Scarborough Town Centre and Pickering Town Centre.[30][31][32]

As Highway 401 approaches the large Highway 403 / Highway 410 junction in Mississauga, it widens into a collector-express system,[33] a concept inspired by the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago.[7] The system divides each direction of travel into collector and express lanes.[34] This gives the highway a wide span and four carriageways. To avoid confusion between carriageways, blue signs are used over the collector lanes and green signs over the express lanes. Unlike the collector lanes, which provide access to every interchange, the express lanes only provide direct access to a select few. Access between the two is provided by transfers, which are strategically placed to prevent disruptions caused by closely spaced interchanges.[35] The overall purpose of the collector-express system is to maximize traffic flow for both local and long-distance traffic and, along with the COMPASS system, to manage traffic flow.[36]

Different signs on Highway 401's collector-express system are utilized to avoid confusion. The express lanes use green signs and the collector lanes use blue. These particular signs are located at The Basketweave.

Two sets of collector-express systems exist in the GTA. The first set is currently 6.6 km (4.1 mi) long and connects Highway 403, Highway 410 and Highway 427.[37] This system primarily serves to accommodate and organize various traffic movements from the Highway 403 / 410 and Highway 427 interchanges along Highway 401, replacing an earlier plan that would have run Highway 403 directly to Eglinton Avenue and the never-built Richview Expressway.[38] East of the interchange with Renforth Drive, the collector lanes diverge to become the on-ramps to Highway 27, 427 and Eglinton Avenue. The second 43.7 km (27.2 mi) system passes through the centre of Toronto and ends in Pickering to the east.[39] The 5 km (3.1 mi) gap between the two systems is a traffic bottleneck. However, the interchange cannot currently accommodate future widening of Highway 401.[40]

A video camera mounted on a tall cement pole on the side of a roadway. The camera is not pointing at the roadway visible at the bottom-right of the picture, but to the left.
Traffic cameras are mounted at every exit within Toronto and form one part of the COMPASS system

Highway 401 widens to a total of eighteen lanes south of Toronto Pearson International Airport.[8] Progressing eastward, eight lanes are carried beneath the large spaghetti junction at Highway 427. The highway curves northeast and follows a power transmission corridor to Highway 409, which merges with the mainline and forms the collector lanes. It returns to its eastward route through Toronto, now carrying fourteen to sixteen lanes of traffic on four carriageways.[33][41]

To manage traffic through this heavily travelled section of roadway, Highway 401 was equipped with a traffic camera system called COMPASS in early 1991.[42] Using a combination of closed-circuit television cameras, vehicle detection loops and LED changeable message signs, COMPASS allows the Ontario Ministry of Transportation Traffic Operations Centre to obtain a real-time assessment of traffic conditions and alert drivers of collisions, congestion and construction.[36] The system currently stretches from the Highway 403 / 410 interchange in Mississauga to Harwood Avenue in Ajax.[43]

Highway 401 is often congested in this section, with an average of 442,900 vehicles passing between Weston Road and Highway 400 per day as of 2008.[2][8] In spite of this congestion, it is the primary commuting route in Toronto; over 50% of vehicles bound for downtown Toronto use the highway.[44]

East of Highway 400 is The Basketweave, a criss-crossing transfer between the express and collectors carriageways.[33] Twelve lanes pass beneath a complicated interchange with Allen Road, built to serve the cancelled Spadina Expressway. Further east, the highway crosses Hogg's Hollow, over the West Don River and Yonge Street in the centre of Toronto. It then crosses the East Don River and climbs toward the Don Valley Parkway, which provides access to downtown Toronto and Highway 404, which provides access to the suburbs to the north. Progressing eastward, the highway continues through mostly residential areas in Scarborough, eventually reaching the Rouge Valley on the city's eastern edge and crossing into Pickering.[33]

A four lane divided highway among short hills travels into the background and curves to the right. The two divided halves are separated by a depressed swampy median.
East of Highway 416, Highway 401 has lower traffic volumes

East of Pickering, it again meets the former Highway 2, which thereafter parallels Highway 401 to the Quebec border.[15] As the highway approaches Brock Road in Pickering, the collector and express lanes converge, narrowing the fourteen lane cross-section to ten, divided only at the centre.[41] It remains this width as it passes into Ajax,[33] before narrowing back to six lanes at Salem Road.[45]

The stretch of Highway 401 through Whitby and Oshawa features several structures completed during the initial construction of the highway in the 1940s.[40] Several of these structures are slated for demolition, either due to their age, or to prepare for the planned widening of Highway 401 through this area.[46] A former Canadian National Railway overpass, which was fenced off but commonly used by pedestrians during Highway of Heroes repatriations, was demolished on the night of June 11, 2011. A second structure in Bowmanville is to be demolished during two overnight closures on July 9 and July 16.[47] At Harmony Road, the suburban surroundings are quickly replaced by agricultural land. The highway curves around the south side of Bowmanville and travels towards Highway 35 and Highway 115.[29]

Eastern Ontario

"A highway surrounded by forest. An installation on the right side reads "Ontario"
Highway 401 ends as it begins, unceremoniously, at the Ontario–Quebec border

From east of Highway 35 and Highway 115 to Cobourg, Highway 401 passes through a mix of agricultural land and forests, maintaining a straight course.[48] As the highway passes through Cobourg, it narrows to four lanes and the terrain becomes undulating, with the highway veering around hills and through valleys along the shores of Lake Ontario.[49] At Trenton, the highway crosses the Trent Canal and returns to an agricultural setting. It then crosses the Moira River as it goes through Belleville before heading eastward to Kingston. The Kingston portion of the highway, originally named the Kingston-Bypass, was one of the first sections of the highway to be completed.[50]

East of Kingston, the highway continues through a predominantly agricultural area alongside the Saint Lawrence River to Gananoque, where it splits with the Thousand Islands Parkway.[51] The current Highway 401 runs parallel to the parkway several kilometres inland from the river. The Canadian Shield returns through this heavily forested section of the highway. Highway 401 rejoins the Thousand Islands Parkway immediately southwest of Brockville, now heading northeast.[52]

The remainder of the highway runs parallel to the former Highway 2 along the shore of the Saint Lawrence River within the St. Lawrence Valley. Northeast of Brockville is the interchange with Highway 416, which heads north towards Ottawa.[53] At the Quebec border, Highway 401 becomes Autoroute 20 and continues to Montreal.[54]


A map with legend of
Highway 401 colour-coded by the year each section opened to traffic


Highway 401's history predates its designation by over two decades. As automobile use in southern Ontario grew in the early 20th century, road design and construction advanced significantly. Following frequent erosion of Lake Shore Road, then Macadamized,[55] a cement road known as the Toronto–Hamilton Highway was proposed in January 1914.[56] The highway was designed to run along the lake shore, instead of Dundas Street to the north, because the numerous hills encountered along Dundas would have increased costs without improving accessibility. Middle Road, a dirt lane named because of its position between the two, was not considered since Lake Shore and Dundas were both overcrowded and in need of serious repairs.[57] The road was formally opened on November 24, 1917,[55] 5.5 m (18 ft) wide and nearly 64 km (40 mi) long. It was the first concrete road in Ontario, as well as one of the longest stretches of concrete road between two cities in the world.[58]

Over the next decade, vehicle usage increased substantially, and by 1920 Lakeshore Road was again congested, particularly during weekends.[59] In response, the Department of Highways examined improving another road between Toronto and Hamilton. The road was to be more than twice the width of Lakeshore Road at 12 m (39 ft) and would carry two lanes of traffic in either direction.[60] Construction on what was then known as the Queen Street Extension west of Toronto began in early 1931.[61]

A highway passes beneath the camera and continues straight into the horizon. It is surrounded by forests on either side and contains no guardrail to separate opposite flows of traffic.
The former Highway 2A near Highland Creek, aside from a resurfaced pavement, has not been altered since it opened in 1947

Before the highway could be completed, Thomas McQuesten was appointed the new minister of the Department of Highways, with Robert Melville Smith as deputy minister, following the 1934 provincial elections.[40] Smith, inspired by the German autobahns — new "dual-lane divided highways" — modified the design for Ontario roads,[62] and McQuesten ordered that the Middle Road be converted into this new form of highway.[63][64][65] A 40 m (130 ft) right-of-way was purchased along the Middle Road and construction began to convert the existing sections to a divided highway. Work also began on Canada's first interchange at Highway 10.[60]

Beginning in 1935, McQuesten applied the concept of a dual-highway to several projects along Highway 2, including along Kingston Road in Scarborough Township.[40][66] When widening in Scarborough reached the Highland Creek ravine in 1936, the Department of Highways began construction on a new bridge over the large valley, bypassing the former alignment around West Hill.[67] From here the highway was constructed on a new alignment to Oshawa, avoiding construction on the congested Highway 2.[7] As grading and bridge construction neared completion on the new highway between West Hill and Oshawa in September 1939, World War II broke out and gradually money was siphoned from highway construction to the war effort.[40]

They are designed for sustained speed, with the best alignments, fewest curves and least grades possible and by-passing centres of population.

Thomas McQueston[68]

At the same time, between September 6 and 8, 1939, the Ontario Good Roads Association Conference was held at Bigwin Inn, near Huntsville,[69] drawing highway engineers from across North America to discuss the new concept of "Dual Highways". On the first day of the convention, McQuesten announced his vision of the freeway: an uninterrupted drive through the scenic regions of Ontario, discouraging local business and local traffic from accessing the highway except at infrequent controlled-access points.[68] It was quickly announced in the days thereafter that this concept would be applied to a new "trans-provincial expressway", running from Windsor to the Quebec border.[70]

Highway engineers evaluated various factors, including grading, curve radius and the narrow median used along the Middle Road (which was inaugurated on August 23, 1940, as the Queen Elizabeth Way),[71] and began to plan the course of a new dual highway mostly parallel to Highway 2, with precedence given to areas most hampered by congestion. Unlike the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), this highway would not be built along an existing road, but rather on a new right-of-way, avoiding the need to provide access to properties.[40][68]

A four-leaf clover shaped highway junction, located in the midst of developing suburbs.
The Highway 400 interchange in 1953. Today, the former cloverleaf has been replaced with a multilevel interchange.

Along with immense improvements to machinery and construction techniques over its six-year course, the war provided ample opportunity for planners to conduct a large-scale survey of 375,000 drivers, asking what their preferred route would be to get to where they needed to go. Using this information, a course was plotted from Windsor to Quebec, bypassing all towns along the way.[7][72]

Highway 2S, for Scenic, was the first completed section of new roadway. Built to connect with the Thousand Islands Bridge at Ivy Lea and opened as a gravel road in late 1941 or early 1942,[73] the road followed the shore of the St. Lawrence River and connected with the western end of the twinned Highway 2 near Brockville.[15]

Following the war, construction resumed on roadways throughout Ontario. The expressway between Highland Creek and Oshawa was completed in December 1947,[7] while other sections remained on the back burner. The Toronto–Barrie Highway was the primary focus of the Department of Highways at the time, and the onset of the Korean War in 1949 continued to stall construction. Despite the delays, highway minister George Doucette officially announced the plans for construction of the new trans-provincial expressway in 1950, with the Toronto to Oshawa expressway serving as a model for the design.[40] Work on the most important link, the Toronto Bypass, began in 1951,[40] but it would not open with that name.

Bird's-eye view of a highway at night. The highway starts at the bottom centre, turning to the right as it progresses into the background. Streams of light show the movement of cars along the highway. Tall poles support lit bulbs. Many buildings and lights are visible in the distance.
Heavy traffic traverses Highway 401 within Toronto 24 hours a day


In July 1952 (possibly July 1, the same day Highway 400 was numbered),[b][74] the Highland Creek to Oshawa expressway and Highway 2S were designated Controlled-Access Highway No 401,[7] a move scorned by one critic because of the lack of thought into the numbered name.[75] That same year, construction wrapped up on several sections of the Toronto Bypass; between Highway 400 and Dufferin Street in August, west to Weston Road in September, east to Bathurst Street in October and finally to Yonge Street in December.[1] Extensions east and west began in 1953; the eastern extension to Bayview Avenue would open in April 1955,[1] the western extension was delayed by Hurricane Hazel's arrival on October 15, 1954, which nearly destroyed the new bridge over the Humber River. The reconstruction would take until July 8, 1955,[76] and the highway was opened between Weston and Highway 27 in September 1955.[1]

The entire bypass, including the widening of Highway 27 into an expressway south of Highway 401,[77] was completed in August 1956.[1][7] Upon its opening, the bypass was described by one reporter as "a motorist's dream" providing "some of the most soothing scenery in the Metropolitan area." The reporter continued, with regard to the eastern section through Scarborough, that it "winds smoothly through pastures across streams and rivers, and beside green thickets. It seems a long way from the big city."[7] By 1959 however, the bypass was a lineup of cars, as 85,000 drivers crowded the roadway, designed to handle a maximum of 48,000 vehicles, on a daily basis.[7] The convenience of a road to get across the city helped influence the suburban shift in Toronto and continues to be a driving force of urban sprawl today.[74]

A blue plaque on a stone wall. The plaque has a yellow border, and is mostly rectangular in shape, with the long end oriented horizontally. However, the top side has a camel hump in the centre, with a circle centred at the top of the hump. Inside the circle is an Ontario coat-of-arms. The plaque reads: THE MACDONALD CARTIER FREEWAY This plaque commemorates the completion of the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway (Highway 401), the longest freeway operated without tolls by a single highway authority in North America. Covering 510 miles between Windsor on the United States border and the Ontario-Quebec boundary, it serves the richest economic region in Canada. In January, 1965, it was named by The Honourable John P. Robarts, Prime Minister of Ontario, in honour of the two founding architects of the Confederation of Canada, Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir Georges Etienne Cartier. This site is located on the last section of construction, consisting of 15 miles between Ivy Lea and Highway 2, which was completed on October 11, 1968.
A plaque near Brockville commemorates the official completion of the highway

Meanwhile, beyond Toronto, the highway was being built in a patchwork fashion, focusing on congested areas first.[40] Construction west from Highway 27 began in late 1954,[50] as did the Kingston Bypass in Eastern Ontario.[78] Work began to connect the latter with the Scenic Highway in 1955.[50] By 1956, construction had begun on the segment between Highway 4 in London and Highway 2 in Woodstock, as well as on the section between Windsor and Tilbury.[79]

By the end of 1960, the Toronto section of the highway was extended both eastwards and westwards: first, to the east between Newcastle and Port Hope by June 30, then later to the west between Highway 25 in Milton and Highway 8 south of Kitchener on November 17.[1] By mid-1961, the section between Brighton and Marysville had opened.[80] The gap to the east, from Highway 28 in Port Hope to Highway 30 in Brighton was opened on July 20, 1961.[81]

A bird's-eye view of a large highway interchange under construction. Several bridges are complete, but nothing is paved, aside from one highway crossing horizontally, which detours between the bridges.
The widening of Highway 401 from four to twelve lanes in Toronto took nine years and was accomplished with at least four lanes open at all times. Shown here is the Highway 401 / Don Valley Parkway / Highway 404 interchange under construction in 1965.

The gap between Woodstock and Kitchener was completed on November 9, 1961, while the gap between Tilbury and London was completed two lanes at a time; the northbound lanes were completed on October 22, 1963, the southbound on July 20, 1965.[1] The gap between Marysville and Kingston was opened by 1962.[80] The final sections, from west of Cornwall to Lancaster, were opened in 1963 and 1964.[80][82] Finally, on October 11, 1968, the Thousand Islands Bypass opened.[7] This final piece was commemorated with a plaque to signify the completion of Highway 401.[40]

In Toronto, engineers and surveyors were examining the four-lane bypass, while planners set about designing a way to handle the commuter highway. In 1963, transportation minister Charles MacNaughton announced the widening of Highway 401 in Toronto from four to a minimum of twelve lanes between Islington Avenue and Markham Road. The design was taken from the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago, which was widened into a similar configuration around the same time.[7] Construction began immediately. While the plan initially called for construction to end in 1967, it continued for nearly a decade. A minimum of four lanes were always open during the large reconstruction project, which included complex new interchanges at Highway 27, Highway 400, the planned Spadina Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway. The system was completed in 1972, along with the Highway 27 bypass north of Highway 401. Most of the interchanges in Toronto were reconstructed as partial cloverleafs and a continuous lighting system was installed.[40]

On January 11, 1965, at the dinner celebration of Sir John A. Macdonald's 150th birthday, John Robarts, designated Highway 401 the Macdonald–Cartier Freeway to honour Macdonald and George-Étienne Cartier, two of Canada's Fathers of Confederation.[83][84] Unlike other names later applied to the highway, the Macdonald–Cartier Freeway designation covers the entire length of Highway 401. Signs designating the freeway and shields with the letters 'M-C' were installed, but these disappeared by 1997.[85] In 2003, 38 years after Robarts' naming of the highway, an MPP attempted to get the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway highway name enshrined into law; the bill only passed first reading and was not enacted.[86]

Driving down a six lane highway during the day. In front is a concrete bridge. The highway curves to the right as it passes beneath the bridge.
Highway 401 at Meadowvale Road in 1989, before being widened to a 14-lane collector-express system

In the 1970s, Highway 401 was widened to six lanes in Durham, but otherwise saw little improvement.[40] The 1980s saw more sections widened, as well as a new collector-express system between Highway 403 / 410 and Highway 427 completed in mid-1985.[87] Plans were made to extend the eastern system from Neilson Road to Brock Road in Pickering in the late 1980s,[88] and took over a decade to reach fruition by 2000.[89][90] This was followed shortly thereafter by the widening of the highway through Ajax and a new interchange at Pickering Beach Road (renamed Salem Road) and Stevenson Road.[91]

The 1990s also saw the first step in widening the highway to six lanes from Toronto to London.[92] A project in the mid-1990s brought the highway up to a minimum of six lanes between Highway 8 in Kitchener and Highway 35 / 115 in Newcastle.[93] Other projects prepared sections for eventual widening.[94]

In 1993, the stretch of Highway 401 eastbound near Milton and westbound near Whitby had chevrons painted in each lane in an effort to reduce tailgating, a concept borrowed from France and Britain. Signs advised motorists to keep at least two chevrons apart, in essence warning them not to follow too closely.[95] Some of these chevrons remain intact in the westbound lanes in Whitby, though the signs stating their use have since been removed.[96]

Beginning in 1998, several projects were initiated on Highway 401 within Toronto. These included the addition of one lane through the Highway 427 interchange in 2005, as well as the resurfacing of the pavement through the city.[5]

Advantage I-75

Between June 1990 and 1998, Highway 401 and Interstate 75 were used for a pilot project named Advantage I-75 to test out the reliability and versatility of an automated tracking system for transport trucks. Termed MACS for Mainline Automated Clearance System, it would allow a truck to travel from Florida to Ontario without a second inspection.[97] MACS was initially tested out at two truck inspection stations in Kentucky, with transponders installed in 220 trucks. Exact time, date, location, weight and axle data were logged as a truck approached an equipped station.[98] Following initial tests, MACS was deployed at every inspection station along I-75 from Miami to Detroit and along Highway 401 from Windsor to Belleville in 1994.[97] The project demonstrated the effectiveness of electronic systems in enforcing freight restrictions without delaying vehicles, while alleviating security fears that such systems could be easily compromised. The concept has since been applied to many parts of Canada, including Highway 407's electronic tolling system.[99]

"A highway viewed from high above travels into the distance from the bottom-right to the top-left. An overpass allows a road to cross the highway near the bottom of the image. The surroundings are entirely agricultural. On the highway, several dozen vehicles are piled into each other. The middle of the large pileup is smoking."
The 87-vehicle pile up on September 3, 1999

"Carnage Alley"

The section of Highway 401 between Windsor and London has often been referred to as Carnage Alley, in reference to the numerous accidents that occurred throughout its history. The term became more commonplace following several deadly pileups during the 1990s.[40] The narrow and open grass median was an ineffective obstacle in preventing cross-median collisions. The nature of that section of highway, described as largely a straight road with a featureless agricultural landscape, was said to make drivers feel less involved and lose focus on the road. Several accidents resulted from motorists deviating from their lane and losing control of their vehicles.[100][101]

Various other names, including The Killer Highway circulated for a time,[102] but Carnage Alley became predominant following an 87-vehicle pile-up on September 3, 1999, the worst in Canadian history, that resulted in eight deaths and forty five injured individuals.[103]

Only a few days prior, then-Transportation Minister David Turnbull had deemed the highway "pleasant" to drive.[104] On the morning of September 3, the local weather station reported clear conditions due to a malfunction,[103] while a thick layer of fog rolled onto the highway. Dozens of vehicles including several semi-trailers quickly crashed into each other shortly after 8 a.m., one following another in the dense fog, and the accumulating wreckage caught traffic traveling in the opposite direction.[105][106] Immediately following the accident, the MTO installed paved shoulders with rumble strips[107] and funded additional police to patrol the highway, a move criticized as being insufficient.[108]

Beginning in 2004, 46 km (29 mi) of the highway was widened from four asphalt lanes to six concrete lanes, paved shoulders were added, a concrete Ontario Tall Wall median was installed,[109] which was the solution that the Canadian Automobile Association promoted in 1999.[101] Interchanges were improved and signage was upgraded as part of a five-phase project to improve Highway 401 from Highway 3 in Windsor to Essex County Road 42 (formerly Highway 2) on the western edge of Tilbury.[22]

A bridge showcased against the sky, with the ground not visible. Lining the bridge are people, some holding Canadian flags.
Canadians line overpasses along the Highway of Heroes to pay their respects to the fallen soldiers who pass

Highway of Heroes

On August 24, 2007, the MTO announced that the stretch of Highway 401 between Glen Miller Road in Trenton and the intersection of the Don Valley Parkway and Highway 404 in Toronto would bear the additional name Highway of Heroes, in honour of Canada's fallen servicemen and servicewomen,[110] though Highway 401 in its entirety remains designated as the Macdonald–Cartier Freeway.[111] This length of the highway is often travelled by a convoy of vehicles carrying a fallen soldier's body, with his or her family, from CFB Trenton to the coroner's office at the Centre for Forensic Sciences in Toronto. Since 2002, when the first of Canada's fallen soldiers were returned from Afghanistan, crowds have lined the overpasses to pay their respects as convoys pass.[112]

Police momentarily stop traffic near Trenton to allow a convoy to enter the highway

The origin of the name can be traced to a June 23, 2007 article in the Toronto Sun by columnist Joe Warmington, in which he interviewed Northumberland photographer Pete Fisher. Fisher, along with Bob Jenkins, an emergency dispatcher, were responsible for organizing the first bridge salutes following the death of four soldiers on April 18, 2002.[113] Warmington described the gathering of crowds on overpasses to welcome fallen soldiers as a "highway of heroes phenomena."[114] This led a Crahame Township volunteer firefighter to contact Fisher on July 10 about starting a petition, leading Fisher to publish an article which was posted to the Northumberland Today website.[115] The online article eventually caught the attention of London resident Jay Forbes. Forbes began a petition, which received over 20,000 signatures[110] before being brought to the Minister of Transportation on August 22.[116] Following the announcement on August 24, the provincial government and MTO set out to design new signs. The signs were erected and unveiled on September 7,[111] and include a smaller reassurance marker (shield), as well as a larger billboard version.[117]

An empty freeway in the middle of a city.
Highway 401 was closed during a series of propane explosions in Toronto in 2008, allowing for this rare photo of the 14-lane highway occupied by a single vehicle

Since 2008

A recently widened Highway 401 in London looking towards Highway 402 from Wellington Road

On August 10, 2008, following a series of explosions at a propane facility in Toronto, Highway 401 was closed between Highway 400 and Highway 404 as a precautionary measure, the largest closure of the highway in its history.[118] The highway remained closed until 8 p.m., though several exits near the blast remained closed thereafter.[119][120]

Between 2006 and 2008, Highway 401 was widened from four to six lanes between Highway 402 and Wellington Road in London. This included replacing the original Wellington Road overpass.[22] In Oshawa, Exit 416 (Park Road) was replaced by a new interchange at Exit 415 (Stevenson Road). The contract, which began September 7, 2005, included the interchange and the resurfacing of 23.4 km (14.5 mi) of the highway between Oshawa and Highway 35 / Highway 115.[121] The westbound ramps were opened in mid-September 2007[122] and the eastbound ramps in mid-2009. The resurfacing was completed mid-2010.[121]

In November 2010, the widening of Highway 401 from four to six lanes between Woodstock and Kitchener was completed after many years of planning and construction.[123] The project included the installation of a tall-wall median barrier, straightening curves and adding additional interchanges on the freeway, allowing it to be easily vacated in an emergency event.[124]

The Highway 401 corridor in Oshawa is currently under reconstruction. The bridge in this image was demolished on June 11, 2011 as part of this work.


The MTO intends to widen all of the remaining four-lane sections to a minimum of six and place an Ontario Tall Wall along the entire length of the highway.[109][125]

Windsor–Essex Parkway

In 2004, it was jointly announced by the American and Canadian governments that a new border crossing would be constructed between Detroit and Windsor. The Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) was formed as a bi-national committee to manage the project.[126] The MTO took advantage of this opportunity to extend Highway 401 to the international border and began an environmental assessment on the entire project in late 2005.[126] The City of Windsor also hired New York traffic consultant Sam Schwartz to design a parkway to the border. Schwartz's proposal would eventually inspire the DRIC's own design, but his route was not chosen, with the DRIC opting instead to take a northern route.[127] On February 8, 2008, the MTO announced that it had begun purchasing property south of the E.C. Row Expressway, upsetting many area residents who had purchased properties in the years prior.[128][129]

On March 3, 2008, the Michigan Department of Transportation and the MTO (in partnership with Transport Canada, the Federal Highway Administration of the United States and the Detroit River International Crossing group) completed a joint assessment on the soils along the Detroit River and determined that they could indeed support the weight of a new bridge; the stability of the underlying soil and clay and the impact of the nearby Windsor Salt mine had caused a great deal of concern for all parties involved in the project.[130]

Despite protest from area residents,[131] as well as a dismissed lawsuit from Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun,[132][133] it was announced on May 1, 2008, that a preferred route had been selected and that the new route would be named the Windsor–Essex Parkway.[13] The new parkway will be below-grade and have six through-lanes. It will follow (but not replace) Talbot Road and Huron-Church Road from a new interchange at the current end of Highway 401 to the E.C. Row Expressway, where it will run concurrently westward for 2 km (1.2 mi). From there, it will turn northwest and follow a new alignment to the border.[134] Initial construction of a noise barrier from North Talbot Road to Howard Avenue began in March 2010. Two new bridges south of the current Highway 3/401 junction are also under construction.[135] Full construction has begun as of August 2011,[136] with an expected completion date of 2013.[137]

A typical section of Highway 401 between Highways 4 and 402. This stretch is to be reconstructed in 2013 and include a new interchange with Wonderland Road.

Southwestern Ontario

In Southwestern Ontario, several improvements are under way to provide six lanes on Highway 401 from Windsor to Toronto,[125] in response to the Carnage Alley pile-up in 1999.[109][138] West of Manning Road, the highway is currently being widened in anticipation of the Windsor–Essex Parkway.[13][139] Between Tilbury and Highway 402, the highway remains four lanes wide with a grass median. The widening and upgrading of this section is in the planning stages, with construction possibly beginning in 2012 and lasting for several years. Several interchanges are slated to be upgraded as part of this construction.[140]

Within the London area, traffic volumes are expected to increase considerably, leading to poor highway conditions. The province has put in place an extensive plan to widen and reconstruct the London corridor between 2006 and 2021.[141] This includes building a new interchange with Wonderland Road to help improve access to Highway 401 westbound from the city's southwest end. This may also include partial interchanges along White Oaks Road with Highways 401 and 402.[142] This project will coincide with reconstructing the outdated cloverleaf interchange at Colonel Talbot Road[143] and widening Highway 401 from four to six lanes between Highway 4 and Highway 402. Construction will start in 2013.[144] In addition, an environmental assessment is underway to examine the impact of reconstructing the three-way trumpet interchange with the Veterans Memorial Parkway into a four-way interchange in order to extend the expressway south of Highway 401.[145][146] The Ontario Ministry of Transportation is also planning on widening Highway 401 from six to eight lanes through part of the London corridor.[147][148]

Long term plans call for Highway 401 in the Waterloo region to be widened to eight lanes as well. The interchange between Highway 401 and Highway 8 (King Street) is to be reconstructed to make it free-flowing for all directions of travel, easing congestion and improving traffic flow in the area.[149]

"A paved segment of highway next to a busy freeway."
Work is underway to widen Highway 401 from six to fourteen lanes between Highway 410 and Hurontario Street

Central Ontario

Traffic congestion on Highway 401 in Pickering.

In their 2007 plan for southern Ontario, the MTO announced long-term plans to create high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes from Mississauga Road west to Milton.[150] Construction is also underway to widen Highway 401 to a collector-express system from Highway 403 and Highway 410 west to Hurontario Street, a distance of 2.8 km (1.7 mi).[151]

Within Toronto, a select number of projects are being completed during overnight construction projects, including the widening and rehabilitation of the Hogg's Hollow bridge,[152] the replacement of the original gantries throughout the collector-express system,[153] and reconstructing the Highway 401/400 interchange.[154]

Current expansion plans in Durham include the construction of two new freeways north from Highway 401. The first will be directly east of Durham Regional Road 23 (Lakeridge Road),[155] while the second will lie to the east of Durham Regional Road 34 (Courtice Road).[156] Alongside the extension of Highway 407, Highway 401 will be widened to twelve lanes, forming an extension to the current collector-express system, from its current end at Durham Regional Road 1 (Brock Road) in Pickering to Durham Regional Highway 12 (Brock Street) in Whitby.[157] Long term plans also call for HOV lanes to run from Brock Road to Durham Regional Road 33 (Harmony Road), though no planning has commenced.[150]

Eastern Ontario

East of Durham, the MTO is planning to widen the entire length of Highway 401 to six lanes.[125] Preliminary work includes the widening of the bridge over the Trent River in Trenton,[158] as well as the realignment of some roads alongside the highway.[159] By mid 2012, the highway will be widened for 6 km (3.7 mi) through Kingston.[160]


A building on a clear day. It is situated amongst considerable asphalt, with trees in the bacground. Two flag poles are in front of the building, an Ontario and Canada flag. The building is designed with particular attention to obscure angles.
A new "ONroute" service station near Tilbury

Highway 401 features 19 service centres controlled by the MTO. These service centres were announced in 1961 following public outcry to the lack of rest stops. They provide a place to park, rest, eat and refuel 24 hours a day.[7]

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.[161]

Seventeen of the centres along Highway 401 will be reconstructed entirely. Two centres that were rebuilt in the late 1990s, specifically Newcastle and Ingersoll, will not be redeveloped at this time. Work on 15 of the 17 service centres to be reconstructed began in late 2009 or early 2010. The new service centres, opening in phases beginning in July 2010, 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.[162]

Service centres are located at the following points along Highway 401:

Location Direction(s) Nearby Exits[163] Status[162]
Tilbury North
Tilbury South
56, 63[164] Reopened as of October 1, 2010[165]
West Lorne
137, 149 Reopened as of October 1, 2010[165]
Ingersoll Westbound 222, 230 Will not be redeveloped at this time. Leased by Imperial Oil.
Woodstock Eastbound 222, 230 Closed for reconstruction on March 31, 2010; reopened July 2011 [166]
Cambridge North
Cambridge South
286, 295 Closed for reconstruction as of September 7, 2011[167]
Mississauga Eastbound 333, 336[168] Permanently closed as of September 30, 2006
Newcastle Westbound 440, 448 Will not be redeveloped at this time. Leased by Imperial Oil.
Port Hope Eastbound 458,456 Was reopened by July 2011
Trenton North Westbound 509, 522 Reopened as of October 1, 2010[165]
Trenton South Eastbound Limited services including fuel; full services to return early 2011
Camden East Westbound 582, 593 Closed for reconstruction March 31, 2010;[169] reopened July 2011
Odessa Eastbound 599, 611 Open during 2010-11 reconstruction (while a new structure was built directly west of a now-demolished original facility on same property). New facility opened July 2011.
Mallorytown North
Mallorytown South
675, 685 Closed for reconstruction;[170] to reopen late 2011
Morrisburg Eastbound 750, 758 Reopened as of October 1, 2010[165]
Ingleside Westbound 758, 770 Reopened Early 2011[165]
Bainsville Westbound 825 Reopened as of October 1, 2010[165]

Exit list

Division Location km[2] Exit[15] Destinations Notes
Canada–U.S. border
0.0 0 Continues as Interstate 75 in Detroit, MI via a new bridge crossing over the Detroit River, planned
1 Ojibway Parkway Under construction
2 E. C. Row Expressway Under construction, westbound exit and eastbound entrance
3  Highway 3 - Huron Church Road – Ambassador Bridge to US Under construction
4 Todd Lane Under construction
6 Service Road Under construction
 Highway 3 west – Ambassador Bridge to US Westbound exit and eastbound entrance, full interchange under construction
12.6 13 Dougall Avenue – Detroit-Windsor Tunnel to US Westbound exit and eastbound entrance; Formerly Highway 3B / Highway 401A
13.4 14  County Road 46 (Walker Road) – Windsor, Essex Formerly Highway 98
Essex Tecumseh 20.4 21  County Road 19 (Manning Road) – Tecumseh
27.5 28  County Road 25 (Puce Road) – Puce
33.7 34  County Road 27 (Belle River Road) – Woodslee, Belle River
40.0 40  County Road 31 (French Line Road) – St. Joachim
47.3 48  Highway 77 south – Leamington
 County Road 35 north (Comber Road) – Stoney Point
55.7 56  County Road 42 – Tilbury Formerly Highway 2
Chatham-Kent Tilbury 62.8 63 County Road 2 (Queen's Line) Formerly Highway 2
Chatham 80.9 81 County Road 27 (Bloomfield Road)
89.3 90  Highway 40 north
County Road 11 south (Communication Road) – Blenheim
101.0 101 County Road 15 (Kent Bridge Road) – Dresden, Ridgetown
108.3 109 County Road 17 / County Road 21 (Victoria Road) – Thamesville, Ridgetown Formerly Highway 21
116.2 117 County Road 20 (Orford Road) – Highgate
Elgin West Elgin 129.2 129 County Road 103 (Furnival Road) – Wardsville, Rodney
137.3 137 County Road 76 (Graham Road) – West Lorne Formerly Highway 76
Dutton/Dunwich 148.5 149 County Road 8 (Currie Road) – Dutton
157.4 157 County Road 14 (Iona Road) – Melbourne, Iona
164.1 164 County Road 20 (Union Road) – Port Stanley, Shedden
London 176.7 177  Highway 4 (Colonel Talbot Road) – St. Thomas Signed as exits 177A (south) and 177B (north)
179 Wonderland Road Planned, construction to begin in 2013
183.2 183  Highway 402 west – Sarnia Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
185.9 186 Wellington Road
186.8 187 Exeter Road Formerly Highway 135 west
189.1 189 Highbury Avenue – St. Thomas Formerly Highway 126
193.6 194 Veterans Memorial Parkway Formerly Highway 100
Middlesex Thames Centre 195.5 195 County Road 74 (Westchester Bourne) – Nilestown, Belmont Formerly Highway 74
199.3 199 County Road 32 (Dorchester Road) – Dorchester
203.0 203 County Road 73 (Elgin Road) – Aylmer Formerly Highway 73
208.5 208 County Road 30 (Putnam Road) – Putnam, Avon
Oxford South-West Oxford,
216.0 216 County Road 10 (Culloden Road)
218.5 218  Highway 19 south
County Road 119 north (Plank Line) – Tillsonburg
South-West Oxford 222.2 222 County Road 6 – Stratford, Embro
229.8 230 County Road 12 (Sweaburg Road / Mill Street) – Sweaburg
231.9 232 County Road 59 – Delhi Formerly Highway 59
235.3 235  Highway 403 east – Brantford, Hamilton Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
236.3 236 County Road 15 (Towerline Road) – Woodstock
237.9 238 County Road 2 – Paris, Woodstock Formerly Highway 2
Blandford-Blenheim 250.1 250 County Road 29 (Drumbo Road) – Innerkip, Drumbo
Waterloo North Dumfries 267.9 268 Regional Road 97 (Cedar Creek Road) – Cambridge, Plattsville, Ayr Signed as exits 268A (east) and 268B (west) eastbound; formerly Highway 97
Kitchener, Cambridge 275.0 275 Regional Road 28 (Homer Watson Boulevard / Fountain Street) Replaced Doon-Blair Road exit in the 1970s
277.9 278  Highway 8 north – Kitchener, Waterloo
Regional Road 8 south – Cambridge
Signed as exits 278A (east) and 278B (west) eastbound
Cambridge 282.5 282 Regional Road 24 (Hespeler Road) to  Highway 24
284 Regional Road 36 south (Franklin Boulevard) Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
286.5 286 Regional Road 33 (Townline Road)
County Road 33 (Townline Road)
Wellington Puslinch
295.7 295  Highway 6 north – Guelph West end of Highway 6 overlap
300.1 299  Highway 6 south – Hamilton
County Road 46 (Brock Road) – Guelph, Hamilton
East end of Highway 6 overlap
Halton Milton 311.9 312 Regional Road 1 (Guelph Line) – Burlington, Campbellville
320.1 320 Regional Road 25 – Acton, Milton Formerly Highway 25; GO Transit bus stop on eastbound ramp.
323.8 324 Regional Road 4 (James Snow Parkway)
328.0 328 Regional Road 3 (Trafalgar Road) – Oakville, Halton Hills, Georgetown
330.4 330  Highway 407 Signed as exit 330 westbound; as exits 330A (west) and 330B (east) eastbound; no access from westbound 407 to eastbound 401 or westbound 401 to eastbound 407
Peel Mississauga 332.7 333 Winston Churchill Boulevard
336.1 336 Regional Road 1 (Mississauga Road / Erin Mills Parkway)
339.6 340 Mavis Road
341.7 342 Hurontario Street Formerly Highway 10
344.5 344   Highway 403 / Highway 410 – Hamilton, Brampton No access from eastbound 401 to westbound 403 or eastbound 403 to westbound 401
346.0 346 Regional Road 4 (Dixie Road)
348  Highway 427 / Renforth Drive – Toronto Pearson International Airport, Downtown Toronto 401-427 interchange. Exit 348 (eastbound exit and westbound entrance), Exit 350 (eastbound exit and westbound entrance), Exit 351 (westbound exit and eastbound entrance) and Exit 352 (westbound exit and eastbound entrance)
350 Eglinton Avenue
351 Carlingview Drive
352  Highway 427 south
353.5 354 Dixon Road / Martin Grove Road
355  Highway 409 – Toronto Airport
Belfield Road
Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
356.0 356 Islington Avenue
357.4 357 Weston Road
358.9 359  Highway 400 north (south to Black Creek Drive) – Barrie Eastbound express access to Highway 400
360.5 360 Jane Street Ramps removed, access to Jane Street via Black Creek Drive.
362.0 362 Keele Street
364.0 364 Dufferin Street, Yorkdale Road Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
364.8 365 Allen Road, Yorkdale Road
366.2 366 Bathurst Street Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
367.3 367 Avenue Road Formerly Highway 11A
369.0 369 Yonge Street Formerly Highway 11
371.0 371 Bayview Avenue
372.9 373 Leslie Street
374.9 375  Highway 404 north – Richmond Hill, Newmarket
Don Valley Parkway – Downtown Toronto
376.3 376 Victoria Park Avenue
377.6 378 Warden Avenue
379.2 379 Kennedy Road
380.8 380 Brimley Road south, Progress Avenue Eastbound exit and westbound entrance from northbound Brimley Road
381.6 381 McCowan Road
383.2 383 Markham Road Formerly Highway 48
Progress Avenue
385.0 385 Neilson Road
386.5 387 Morningside Avenue
389.0 389 Meadowvale Road
390.3 390  Highway 2 / Highway 2A (Kingston Road, Sheppard Avenue (westbound), Port Union Road (eastbound)) Signed as exit 392 westbound
Durham Pickering 394.0 394  Regional Road 38 (Whites Road) Exit added in 1983[171]
396.6 397  Regional Road 29 (Liverpool Road) Westbound exit and entrance
398.3 399  Regional Road 1 (Brock Road)
Ajax 400 Church Street Removed, exit replaced with Westney Road interchange (Exit 401) in 1988
401.3 401  Regional Road 31 (Westney Road) Replaced Exit 400 (Church Street) in 1988
402.5 403  Regional Road 44 (Harwood Avenue) Removed, exit replaced with Salem Road interchange (Exit 404) in 2003
404.3 404  Regional Road 41 (Salem Road) Replaced Exit 403 (Harwood Avenue) in 2003
Whitby 409.6 410  Durham Regional Highway 12 (Brock Street) Formerly Highway 12
412.1 412  Regional Road 26 (Thickson Road)
Oshawa 415  Regional Road 53 (Stevenson Road) Replaced Exit 416 (Park Road) in 2009
415.8 416  Regional Road 54 (Park Road) Removed, exit replaced with nearby Stevenson Road interchange (Exit 415) in 2009
417.6 417  Regional Road 2 (Simcoe Street) Westbound exit is via exit 418
418.5 418  Regional Road 16 (Ritson Road)
419.4 419   Regional Road 22 / Regional Road 33 (Bloor Street / Harmony Road)
Clarington 425.4 425  Regional Road 34 (Courtice Road) – Courtice
428.4 428 Holt Road (Darlington Nuclear Generating Station) Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
431.3 431  Regional Road 57 (Waverley Road) – Bowmanville
432.4 432  Regional Road 14 (Liberty Street) – Bowmanville, Port Darlington
435.2 435 Bennett Road
436.3 436   Highway 35 / Highway 115 – Peterborough, Orono, Lindsay
440.1 440  Regional Road 17 (Mill Street) – Newcastle, Bond Head
448.1 448  Regional Road 18 (Newtonville Road) – Newtonville
Northumberland Port Hope 456.6 456 Wesleyville Road
461.4 461 County Road 2 – Welcome Formerly Highway 2
464.8 464 County Road 28 – Peterborough, Bewdley Formerly Highway 28
Cobourg, Hamilton 472.6 472 County Road 18 (Burnham Street) – Gores Landing
474.5 474 County Road 45 – Norwood, Baltimore Formerly Highway 45
Alnwick/Haldimand 487.0 487 County Road 23 (Lyle Street) – Centreton, Grafton
Cramahe 497.2 497 County Road 25 (Percy Street / Big Apple Drive) – Colborne, Castleton
Brighton 509.7 509 County Road 30 – Brighton, Campbellford Formerly Highway 30
Hastings Quinte West 520.4 522 County Road 40 (Wooler Road) – Trenton
525.4 525 County Road 33 – Trenton, Frankford, Batawa Formerly Highway 33
526.5 526 County Road 4 (Glen Miller Road) – Trenton, CFB Trenton
538.5 538 County Road 1 (Wallbridge-Loyalist Road) – Stirling
542.7 543  Highway 62 – Marmora, Madoc to County Road 14 Signed as exits 543A (south) and 543B (north); formerly Highway 14
543.2 544  Highway 37 – Tweed
Tyendinaga 555.7 556 County Road 7 (Shannonville Road) – Shannonville, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory
566.4 566  Highway 49
County Road 15 (Marysville Road) – Picton, Deseronto, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory
570.5 570 County Road 10 (Deseronto Road) – Deseronto
Lennox and Addington Greater Napanee
578.8 579 County Road 41 – Napanee, Kaladar Formerly Highway 41
582.1 582 County Road 5 (Palace Road) – Napanee, Newburgh
Loyalist 593.4 593 County Road 4 (Camden East Road) – Millhaven, Camden East Formerly Highway 133
598.8 599 County Road 6 (Wilton Road) – Yarker, Amherstview, Odessa
Frontenac Kingston 610.8 611 County Road 38 – Harrowsmith, Sharbot Lake Formerly Highway 38
613.0 613 County Road 9 (Sydenham Road), Sydenham
615.3 615 Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard
617.0 617 County Road 10 (Division Street) – Westport
619.0 619 County Road 11 (Montreal Street) – Battersea
623.0 623  Highway 15 – Smiths Falls, Ottawa
631.9 632 County Road 16 (Joyceville Road) – Joyceville
Leeds and Grenville Gananoque, Leeds and the Thousand Islands 645.1 645 County Road 32 – Crosby Formerly Highway 32
646.7 647 Thousand Islands Parkway – Ivy Lea, Rockport Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
Leeds and the Thousand Islands
647.9 648  Highway 2 – Gananoque
County Road 2
Eastbound via exit 647
658.8 659 County Road 3 (Reynolds Road) – Ivy Lea, Lansdowne, Rockport
661.0 661  Highway 137 ( I-81 to US)
Front of Yonge 675.5 675 County Road 5 (Mallorytown Road) – Mallorytown, Athens, Rockport
684.7 685 Thousand Islands Parkway Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
686.7 687 County Road 2 – Brockville Formerly Highway 2
Brockville 696.2 696 County Road 29 – Brockville, Smiths Falls Formerly Highway 29 / Highway 42
698.0 698 North Augusta Road – Brockville, North Augusta
Augusta 704.8 705 County Road 15 (Maitland Road) – Merrickville, Maitland
Prescott 716.2 716 County Road 18 (Edward Street) – Prescott, Domville
720.1 721A  Highway 416 north – Ottawa, Kemptville Eastbound exit and westbound entrance; signed as exit 721 eastbound
721.2 721B  Highway 16 (to NY 37) – Kemptville, Johnstown, US Signed as exit 721 westbound
730.0 730 County Road 22 (Shanly Road) – Cardinal
Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry South Dundas 737.8 738 County Road 1 (Carman Road) – Iroquois
750.2 750 County Road 31 – Ottawa, Morrisburg, Winchester Formerly Highway 31
758.2 758 Upper Canada Road
South Stormont 769.5 770 County Road 14 (Dickinson Drive) – Ingleside
777.8 778 County Road 35 (Moulinette Road) – Long Sault
786.4 786 County Road Power Dam Drive Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
Cornwall 789.5 789  Highway 138 (Brookdale Avenue) – Ottawa, Hawkesbury, Three Nations Crossing to US
791.8 792 McConnell Avenue
796.1 796 County Road 44 (Boundary Road)
South Glengarry
804.6 804 County Road 27 (Summerstown Road) – Summerstown
813.8 814 County Road 2 / County Road 34 – Lancaster, Alexandria, Hawkesbury Formerly Highway 2 south / Highway 34 north
825.4 825 County Road 23 (4th Line Road, Curry Hill Road)
Ontario–Quebec boundary 828.0 Continues east as A-20 towards Montreal, QC
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
     Concurrency terminus     Closed/Former     Incomplete access     Unopened

See also

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  1. ^ a b The first interchange on Highway 401 (Dougall Avenue) is numbered exit 13, but is only 2 km from Highway 3. The Windsor–Essex Parkway will likely incorporate the initial kilometres into exit numbers along its length.
  2. ^ The Department of Highways Fiscal Report for the year ending March 31, 1952, claims "Controlled Access Highways nos. 400 and 401 were signed". However, all other sources claim July.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Ministry of Transportation and Communications pp. 8–9
  2. ^ a b c d e Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (2008). "Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) counts". Government of Ontario. http://www.raqsb.mto.gov.on.ca/techpubs/TrafficVolumes.nsf/tvweb?OpenForm&Seq=5. Retrieved November 3, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Appendix 3" (pdf). 2009–2010 OBW/ORA Handbook for Students Coming to Ontario from Baden-Württemberg Rhône-Alpes. Ontario Program Office, OBW/ORA Student Exchange Programs, York University. 7 August 2009. p. 26. http://www.yorku.ca/ontbw/doc/BW_RA_Handbook_09-10.pdf. Retrieved April 9, 2010. "401 The Four-Oh-One: highway between Windsor and the Ontario / Quebec border" 
  4. ^ a b Maier, Hanna (October 9, 2007). Long-Life Concrete Pavements in Europe and Canada (Report). Federal Highway Administration. http://international.fhwa.dot.gov/pubs/pl07027/llcp_07_02.cfm. Retrieved May 1, 2010. "The key high-volume highways in Ontario are the 400-series highways in the southern part of the province. The most important of these is the 401, the busiest highway in North America, with average annual daily traffic (AADT) of more than 425,000 vehicles in 2004 and daily traffic sometimes exceeding 500,000 vehicles." 
  5. ^ a b c Canadian NewsWire (August 6, 2002). Ontario government investing $401 million to upgrade Highway 401 (Report). Ministry of Transportation of Ontario. "Highway 401 is one of the busiest highways in the world and represents a vital link in Ontario's transportation infrastructure, carrying more than 400,000 vehicles per day through Toronto." 
  6. ^ Thün, Geoffrey; Velikov, Kathy. "The Post-Carbon Highway". Alphabet City. http://alphabet-city.org/issues/fuel/articles/the-post-carbon-highway. Retrieved March 5, 2010. "It is North America’s busiest highway, and one of the busiest in the world. The section of Highway 401 that cuts across the northern part of Toronto has been expanded to eighteen lanes, and typically carries 420,000 vehicles a day, rising to 500,000 at peak times, as compared to 380,000 on the I-405 in Los Angeles or 350,000 on the I-75 in Atlanta (Gray)." 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Shragge pp. 93–94
  8. ^ a b c d Thün, Geoffrey; Velikov, Kathy. "The Post-Carbon Highway". Alphabet City. http://alphabet-city.org/issues/fuel/articles/the-post-carbon-highway. Retrieved April 16, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Engineering Feats: 401 is the busiest highway in North America". The Midland Free Press (Sun Media). 2008. http://www.midlandfreepress.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?archive=true&e=919985. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  10. ^ Ministry of Transportation (2003). Southern Ontario Road Maps (Map). Cartography by Bryan Simmons, Lori-Anne Martin. http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/traveller/map/southindexpdf.shtml. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  11. ^ Google, Inc. Google Maps – Driving directions from Toronto, ON to Montreal, QC (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Toronto,+ON&daddr=Montreal,+QC&hl=en&geocode=&mra=ls&sll=42.78714,-80.976825&sspn=3.377959,6.987305&ie=UTF8&ll=44.606113,-76.508789&spn=3.277071,6.987305&t=h&z=7. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
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