Highway 400 (Ontario)

Highway 400 (Ontario)

Infobox road

length_ref=Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, [http://www.raqsa.mto.gov.on.ca/techpubs/TrafficVolumes.nsf/tvweb 2004 Annual Average Daily Traffic] ]
established=1951 (numbered in 1952)Fact|date=September 2007
terminus_a=Black Creek Dr in Toronto
junction=jct|state=ON|Hwy|401 in Toronto
jct|state=ON|Hwy|11 near Barrie
terminus_b=jct|state=ON|Hwy|69 near Parry Sound
cities=Toronto, Barrie, Parry Sound

The King's Highway 400, more commonly known as Highway 400 or the 400, is a key north-south 400-Series Highway in the Canadian province of Ontario that links the city of Toronto to the central and northern sections of the province. As such, it serves as the primary route from Toronto to "cottage country" in the Muskoka region of Ontario.


Originally known as the Toronto-Barrie Highway, over the years the route has been widened and extended beyond Barrie to its current terminus in Parry Sound (and eventually its ultimate terminus in Sudbury). The current length of the highway is 209 km or 129 miles.

South of Highway 401, provincial control ends at the Maple Leaf Drive overpass and Highway 400 turns into Black Creek Drive. Highway 400 had been completed up to Jane Street in 1966 (alongside the expansion of Highway 401) but plans to extend Highway 400 further south to the Gardiner Expressway had been shelved in the 1970s. Land for the Highway 400 extension was used to build the Black Creek Drive which was completed and transferred to Metro Toronto in 1982.

The junction with Highway 401 is one of the earliest multi-level interchanges built when Highway 401 was widened to a collector-express system in 1967. Because the speed limit on Ontario freeways was raised in 1968 from 90 km/h to 100 km/h (55 to 62 mph) it rendered this interchange obsolete shortly after its completion. There are several flyover ramps that are not designed to handle speeds that motorists are accustomed to; notably the 400 southbound to 401 westbound ramp which has seen several truck rollovers because of excessive speed, and in the opposite direction the 401 eastbound to 400 northbound ramp which has added rumble strips and a revised 50 km/h speed in order to allow drivers to safely navigate the sharp curve.

Between Highway 401 and Highway 407, Highway 400 is one of the widest highways in the Greater Toronto Area without a collector-express system; the only full interchange is with Finch Avenue. In the 1950s, that stretch was 4-6 lanes wide but a major reconstruction that ended in 1971 saw it widened to 10 lanes. In the 1990s, concurrent with the construction of Highway 407, the section between Highway 401 and Finch Avenue was widened to 12 lanes and that project necessitated the demolition and reconstruction of the Sheppard Avenue overpass. The 1990s also saw the replacing of the 1960s conventional truss lights and metal guardrail with high-mast lighting and an "Ontario tall-wall" concrete median barrier.

The 400-407 junction is the only 4-way 4-level stack interchange in Ontario (during the Highway 407 design, similar 4-level interchanges were planned at Highway 410 and Highway 404 as well but they were scaled to cut costs, and are now clover-stack interchanges. North of Highway 407, Highway 400 has been extensively reconstructed in the early 1990s to accommodate incoming Highway 407 traffic and there is a small collector-express system serving Highway 7 and Langstaff Road. In the early 2000s, the junctions with Rutherford Road and Major Mackenzie Drive were extensively reconstructed to modern Parclo A4 configurations, and a new partial interchange was added for Bass Pro Mills Drive in 2004 to accommodate the opening of the Vaughan Mills shopping centre.

Highway 400 was one of the original 400-series freeways, along with the QEW, Highway 401, and Highway 402. The rural section between Vaughan and Barrie has many overpass bridges still in use that date back to the 1950s (most of which are substandard compared to most modern freeways, with clearances generally between 4.0m and 4.3m (between 13'3" and 14'3") in the outermost lane and several extremely narrow acceleration lanes), as well as some notable low standard interchange ramps such as at Canal Road (Exit 58), which is a 20 km/h (15 mph) RIRO entrance.

A spur route designated Highway 400A existed until 1997, linking Highway 400 and Highway 11 north of Barrie. When Highway 400 was first constructed to its original northern terminus, it continued onwards to meet Highway 11 at an interchange with Penetanguishene Road, which carried the Highway 11 alignment through downtown Barrie at the time. The first extensions to Parry Sound were performed 1 km south of that interchange, creating a 1 km gap between Highway 11 and Highway 400 designated as Highway 400A and exclusively signed with trailblazers. When Highway 11 along Penetanguishene Road and Yonge Street was downloaded to municipal authorities in the late 1990s, the designation of Highway 11 was extended to the interchange with Highway 400, and Highway 400A ceased to exist. Northbound traffic on Highway 400 towards Parry Sound and Sudbury must therefore keep right at the interchange, while the two leftmost lanes exit onto Highway 11 to Orillia and eventually North Bay (designated as a control city). Southbound traffic on 400 and 11 simply merges together.

Highway 400's interchange with Highway 518 is the first and only interchange between a 400-series highway and a secondary highway in the province, but more will be built as the 400 is extended northwards.


Construction is currently underway to extend Highway 400 to the city of Sudbury in Northern Ontario, along the existing Highway 69 corridor. Although the timetable may be subject to change, Highway 400's entire route to Sudbury is currently scheduled for completion in 2017.

This commitment was originally made in 1991 by the New Democrat government of Bob Rae. Although construction did commence at the highway's southern end, the project was curtailed by the Progressive Conservative government of Mike Harris shortly after the 1995 provincial election, with construction ending at the highway's current terminus in Parry Sound. The continued construction to Sudbury was subsequently reinstated by Harris' successor Ernie Eves in 2002.

In 2004, construction began on the segment from Sudbury southwards to Estaire, and route planning studies were completed for the Estaire to Parry Sound branch. Portions of the route will be opened to traffic as construction is completed — the next segment from Parry Sound to Nobel is currently scheduled to open in 2010, and the segment immediately south of Sudbury is scheduled to open in 2009. [ [http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/traveller/highway69/status.htm Status of Construction Activity ] ]

As of July 2008, the newly-constructed lanes at the Wahta Gap are now fully in operation.

A few private roads, including an access road to Global Ontario's Midland-area transmitter ("Global Tower Road"), remain at-grade RIRO-style intersections (with no left turns), although these are extremely low-traffic routes which neither warrant a full interchange nor interfere in any significant way with Highway 400 traffic.

Construction phases (Toronto section)

* Highway 401 to Jane Street (1966)
* Jane Street to Weston Road (1975) - later as Black Creek Drive in 1985 (an at-grade municipal expressway that is not part of Highway 400, although the land was initially intended for a controlled-access Highway 400 south extension)

Volume information (2005)

*Highest Volume: 176,800 vehicles Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) from Highway 401 (Exit 21) to Finch Avenue (Exit 25)
*Lowest Volume: 9,100 vehicles AADT from South Bay Road (Muskoka Road 48) / Muskoka Road 34 (Exit 162) to Crooked Bay Road / Georgian Bay Road (Exit 168)

Control cities

From South to North:
* Toronto (southbound)
* Barrie
* Parry Sound
* Sudbury
* North Bay

"Notes: In Barrie, signs also say "Sudbury, Via Hwy. 69" and "North Bay, Via Hwy. 11" Also, Parry Sound and Barrie are not listed as control cities north of Port Severn."

Lane configurations from south to north

tatus of construction activity

As of fall 2008, only a 26-kilometre segment of the future Highway 400 extension, from the Pickerel River to the Magnetawan First Nation, remains in the initial assessment phase. The entire remainder of the route is now in the engineering, property acquisition or full construction stages. [http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/traveller/highway69/image/parry_sound_sudbury_nov_2007.pdf]

* Currently under construction::: 1 Additional Lane & HOV lane per direction between Major Mackenzie Dr and King Rd in Vaughan & King Construction is scheduled to begin in 2008:: Sudbury, Gladu Road to Burwash (19.2 km), scheduled to open in 2009:: Parry Sound, existing terminus to north of Hwy 559 (17 km), scheduled to open in 2010 with completion of Nobel Bypass
* Engineering and property acquisition phase::: Burwash to Pickerel River (48 km):: Nobel bypass to Magnetawan First Nation (46 km)
* Route planning and environmental assessment::: Pickerel River to Magnetawan First Nation (26 km)
* Future expansion, no current activity::: Sudbury, Regent Street/Gladu Road to Highway 17

Proposed interchanges from south to north


External links

* [http://simcoemuskoka.com/traffic/index Highway 400 Live Traffic Cams]
* [http://www.thekingshighway.ca/Highway400.htm History of Ontario's King's Highway — Highway 400]
* [http://www.highway69.ca/ Highway 400 extension Route Planning Studies]
* [http://onthighways.com/highway_400.htm Highway 400 at OntHighways.com]
* [http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=d&hl=en&geocode=&saddr=HWY-400+N+%4043.711580,+-79.506110&daddr=45.358267,-80.01184&mrcr=0&mrsp=1&sz=17&mra=dme&sll=45.357849,-80.011073&sspn=0.003121,0.006641&ie=UTF8&ll=44.688183,-79.766235&spn=3.23339,6.800537&t=h&z=7&om=1 Google Maps: Highway 400 route]

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