History of King's Highway 144:
King's Highway 144 is a minor collector highway connecting Sudbury to Timmins in Northeastern Ontario. The highway traverses a particularly remote section of Ontario. There are only a few small communities located along Highway 144's 271 km route, other than the City of Greater Sudbury, located at the southern end of the highway. Highway 144's northern terminus at Highway 101 is actually situated in a sparsely-populated area about 20 km west of the urbanized area of Timmins. The highway was built in the 1960s and early 1970s in order to improve access to Timmins from Sudbury. In 1964, construction began on the new Sudbury-Timmins Highway. Initially, the new road was simply going to be an extension of Secondary Highway 544 from Cartier to Timmins, but the road was later redesignated as King's Highway 144, in recognition of the fact that the proposed highway would soon form an important link between two major Ontario cities. Work progressed during the 1960s, with construction taking place at both the Timmins and Sudbury end of the highway. Work was also taking place at the centre of the proposed highway project near Gogama, since there was road access to this point via Secondary Highway 560. The section of Highway 144 from Gogama to Timmins was completed several years earlier that the southern section, as the surrounding topography north of Gogama was much more subdued than the rugged southern section approaching Sudbury, which required extensive rock blasting and heavy grading. Highway 144 was officially completed and opened to traffic on September 25, 1970, although some paving and other residual construction work remained outstanding until 1972. The new highway shortened the road distance between Sudbury and Timmins by over 100 km. During the mid-1980s, the Northwest Sudbury Bypass was built to divert through traffic and heavy trucks away from Downtown Sudbury. The new bypass began at the Trans Canada Highway (Highway 17) and met Highway 144 at Chelmsford. When the Northwest Bypass was completed in 1987, Highway 144 was routed onto the new road. The old route of Highway 144 leading into Downtown Sudbury was renamed Sudbury District Road 35. The highway's route has not changed since the 1980s. Some sections of Highway 144 carry rather low volumes of traffic for a King's Highway. Sections of the highway near Gogama carry fewer than 900 vehicles per day.
Generally speaking, Highway 144 is a good quality two-lane road for much of its length between Sudbury and Timmins. However, there are some winding sections near Sudbury, and the highway has very narrow shoulders for much of its route. Unless posted otherwise, the speed limit on Highway 144 is 80 km/h (50 mph). The posted speed limit on the Sudbury Northwest Bypass is 90 km/h (55 mph). Services are very scarce along Highway 144. Gasoline is available in Sudbury, Cartier, Gogama and at the Watershed Restaurant (located at the junction of Highway 144 & Secondary Highway 560/Sultan Road). The distance between gas stations from Cartier to the Watershed is almost 100 km (60 miles), with a similar gap existing between Gogama to Timmins. Apart from Timmins and Sudbury, there are no 24-hour gas stations located along Highway 144. Drivers should be prudent and fill up before setting out on Highway 144. Moose are quite common along Highway 144. These enormous animals can often be seen crossing the highway corridor. This represents a serious collision hazard, because these animals are difficult for motorists to see at night. Slow down and be prepared for moose if you plan to use Highway 144 at night. Please visit the Highway 144 Mileage Chart page for a list of mileage reference points along Highway 144.
Additional Information About King's Highway 144:
King's Highway 144 - A Virtual Tour (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)