Hwy 126 Hwy 126 Hwy 126   

Ontario Highway 126 (#2) Quick Facts:
  • Years in Existence: 1963-1991
  • Current Status: Decommissioned in 1991
  • Current Name: Highbury Avenue
  • Location: Southern Ontario
  • Counties Served: Middlesex
  • Towns Served: London
  • Southern Terminus: Middlesex Road 37 - London
  • Northern Terminus: Hwy 22 - London
  • Length in 1987: 11.7 km / 7.3 miles
HWY 126 (#2) ROUTE MARKER - © Cameron Bevers
King's Highway 126 Sign © Cameron Bevers

History of King's Highway 126 (#2):

The second King's Highway 126 was a short urban arterial highway, which served as an access route between London and Highway 401 for nearly three decades. In the early 1960s, the existing section of Highbury Avenue in London was extended south from Hamilton Road to Wilton Grove Road. The Highbury Avenue Extension (Highway 126) was constructed between 1961 and 1963, and featured a new interchange at Highway 401 and a proposed interchange at Commissioners Road. Highway 126 was opened from Highway 401 to Hamilton Road on December 9, 1963. The following year, the existing section of Highbury Avenue between Hamilton Road and Highway 2 was designated as Highway 126. In 1966, the entire section of Highway 126 lying to the south of Hamilton Road was converted into a four-lane controlled-access freeway, which was known for many years as the Wenige Expressway.

During the 1960s, several ambitious plans were developed to construct a series of freeways across London, in order to provide improved connections to Highway 401 from the central and northern half of the city. However, plans to extend the Highway 126 Freeway further north were eventually scrapped. In 1973, the City of London signed the rest of Highbury Avenue between Highway 2 and Highway 22 (Fanshawe Park Road) as a section of Highway 126. Apparently, this was done to provide a signed alternate route between Highway 401 and Highway 4, via Highway 22 and Highway 126. It was ultimately determined that Highway 126 was a redundant highway that served only a local purpose. Accordingly, the entire highway was decommissioned in 1991. Ownership of the freeway section of Highbury Avenue was transferred to the City of London effective June 12, 1991. Signs indicating the City-posted route of Highway 126 along the non-freeway portions of Highbury Avenue between Hamilton Road and Fanshawe Park Road were eventually removed. Since that time, Highway 126 has been known simply as Highbury Avenue. A different, unrelated Highway 126 existed between Bobcaygeon and Minden in the mid-1950s.

The Highbury Avenue Freeway is still a fully controlled-access route from Hamilton Road to the Highway 401 Interchange, although the free-flowing cloverleaf interchange at Highway 401 was converted to an interrupted flow partial-cloverleaf interchange in the early 1990s. The four-lane freeway has a 100 km/h speed limit, except on the approaches to the traffic signals at Highway 401 and Hamilton Road. The City of London constructed a new interchange at Bradley Avenue during the 1990s.

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