Hwy 120 Hwy 120 Hwy 120   

Ontario Highway 120 Quick Facts:
  • Years in Existence: 1954-1960
  • Current Status: Renumbered as King's Highway 11 in 1960
  • Current Names: King's Highway 11
  • Location: Northwestern Ontario
  • Districts Served: Thunder Bay & Rainy River
  • Towns Served: Shabaqua Corners, Shebandowan, Kashabowie & Atikokan
  • Western Terminus: Hwy 622 - Atikokan
  • Eastern Terminus: Hwy 17 - Shabaqua Corners
  • Length in 1960: 141.0 km / 87.6 miles
HWY 120 - © Cameron Bevers
King's Highway 120 Sign © Cameron Bevers

History of King's Highway 120:

King's Highway 120 was an important highway in Northwestern Ontario that was eventually absorbed into the route of today's Highway 11. Highway 120 was originally constructed in the early 1950s as a new access road from Highway 17 at Shabaqua Corners to the remote community of Atikokan. The first construction contracts for the Atikokan Highway were awarded in late 1951. This new road traversed a region that was previously inaccessible by automobile. The only existing road access was via a 20 km side road between Shabaqua Corners and Shebandowan, so the Department of Highways decided to utilize this existing road as the first portion of Highway 120. The remaining 120 km road between Shedandowan and Atikokan was built over the next several years. The Atikokan Highway was unofficially opened to traffic in late 1953, even though the road was still under construction in many places. Strangely, Highway 120 was not officially assumed into the King's Highway system until March 27, 1957, even though the Highway 120 designation had appeared on road maps since 1954. Presumably, this delay was necessary in order to reconstruct and upgrade the existing secondary road from Shabaqua Corners and Shebandowan to proper King's Highway standards, prior to the highway's assumption. Paving operations began on this highway in 1955 at the Atikokan end, and progressed easterly towards Shabaqua Corners over the following three years. The final gravel section on Highway 120 was paved in 1958.

In the mid 1950s, plans were developed to extend Highway 120 from Atikokan westerly so that it joined up with Highway 71 in Fort Frances. These plans included a new causeway across Rainy Lake. The first contracts for the Rainy Lake Causeway were awarded in 1958. However, it was eventually decided that the new highway to Fort Frances should be numbered as Highway 11, instead of Highway 120. In 1960, Highway 120 was redesignated as Highway 11.





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