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Ontario Highway 401 Traffic & News

Hwy 401: Ontario Canada Highway 401 Traffic & News

Highway 401, more commonly referred to as King’s Highway 401, is actually called the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway, or even referred to as the four-oh-one.  This highway is one of the many different 400 series highways that is located in the Canadian Province of Ontario. With a length that stretches over 514 miles (828 kilometers), this highway spans the Canadian countryside from the city of Windsor that is located in the west, all the way to Ontario-Quebec, which is located in the east.  And what makes the 401 highway even more exciting, is that the part of it that passes through the Toronto area is actually the busiest highway in all of North America, as well as one of the widest highways too.  

If you partner the 401 highway with the Quebec Autoroute 20, this combination actually forms what is considered to be the backbone of the entire Quebec-City and Windsor Corridor, providing highways for over half of the entire Canadian population.  On top of that, this combination is also one of the Core Routes of the National Highway Systems of Canada. This particular route is actually so important, that it is even maintained by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, which is also more commonly referred to as the MTO.  It is kept safe by the Ontario Provincial Police, who are always on patrol with nothing but safety in mind. The speed limit on this stretch of highway is 62 miles per hour (mph), or 80 km/h. However, there are several exceptions to this speed limit, such as heading westbound in Windsor, and in any type of construction zones that may be active.  In these situations, the speed limit is only 50 mph, or 80 km/h.

By the later part of 1952, there were actually three different highways that were known as ‘Highway 401’.  These included Highway 2A, which was between Newcastle and West Hill; the Toronto Bypass, which was only partially completed, and located between highway 11, or Yonge Street, and Weston Road; and the stretch of road known as the Scenic Highway, which was located between Brockville and Gananoque, which is currently known as Thousand Islands Parkway.  These three particular stretches of highway were 35 miles, 7.3 miles, and 25.6 miles (54.7 km, 11.8 km, and 41.2 km), respectively. Later in 1964, this stretch would become fully navigable, bringing people from Windsor, all the way to Ontario0-Quebec. The next year in 1965, a second destination would be added, that destination being the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway.  This new section of highway would be in honor of two famous Confederations Fathers.  

Since then, there have been many different additions that include new cities and new sections of highway.  While King’s Highway 401 does have a very rich Canadian history, it is also one of the largest highways in all of North American and continues to be a central vein of transportation for everyone who travels on it, whether that be on a daily basis, or a much more sparse travel schedule. 

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