History of King's Highway 20A (Hamilton):
There have been three different routes in Ontario numbered as King's Highway 20A. This section of Highway 20A in the County of Wentworth was the longest of all three routes. The highway ran along Hamilton Mountain from the Highway 20 Junction at Elfrida to the Highway 2 Junction at Duff's Corners. A branch of Highway 20A also extended into Downtown Hamilton. The route was sometimes referred to as the Upper Mountain Highway, since it enabled through traffic arriving in Hamilton on Highway 2 or Highway 20 to bypass Downtown Hamilton completely. The Upper Mountain Highway route thus kept through traffic south of the Niagara Escarpment and away from the built-up areas of Hamilton. Two other discontinuous sections of Highway 20A existed south of Bismarck and north of Stoney Creek.
The eastern leg of Highway 20A was created in 1932, when a section of Highway 20 was rerouted between Hamilton and Stoney Creek. Originally, Highway 20 entered Downtown Hamilton from Elfrida via Rymal Road and Upper Gage Avenue. Shortly after Highway 20 was designated in 1930, plans were drawn up by the Department of Highways of Ontario (DHO) to build a new highway from Elfrida northerly to join with Highway 8 and Highway 8A in Stoney Creek. The proposed route for Highway 20 would descend the Niagara Escarpment through a new mountain access point at Stoney Creek, which would allow through traffic to bypass Downtown Hamilton altogether. Construction began on the new mountain access point in 1931. This work included the construction of a grade separation over the railway line at the foot of the Niagara Escarpment. This new highway was originally proposed to be an extension of Highway 8A from Stoney Creek to Elfrida. However, by the time the Stoney Creek Cut was completion in 1932, it was decided to extend Highway 20 down the new cut and across Hamilton Harbour to Burlington. Accordingly, the old route of Highway 20 from Elfrida into Downtown Hamilton via Rymal Road and Upper Gage Avenue was renumbered as Highway 20A (See Map).
During 1933, the DHO decided that a new highway link should be established between Highway 20A at Long's Corners (Rymal Road and Upper Gage Avenue) and Highway 2 at Duff's Corners. On August 10, 1933, a Preliminary Route Plan was prepared by the DHO which showed the proposed assumption of the Long's Corners-Duff's Corners Road west of Ancaster as a new King's Highway. This new spur highway was designated so that Niagara-bound traffic from London and Brantford would no longer have to pass through Downtown Hamilton to access Highway 20. The new highway between Long's Corners and Duff's Corners was assumed by the DHO on September 6, 1933. This spur road, which was also numbered as Highway 20A, was paved from Long's Corners to the Highway 6 Junction at Ryckman's Corners in 1933, and from Ryckman's Corners to the Highway 2 Junction at Duff's Corners in 1934.
Unfortunately, the DHO's decision to designate this spur road from Long's Corners to Duff's Corners as a portion of Highway 20A caused a great deal of confusion amongst the motoring public. Motorists who were unfamiliar with the road layout in the Hamilton area got a surprise when they found that the highway forked into two roads at Long's Corners, with both roads leading away from the junction marked as Highway 20A. The situation was finally rectified in 1937, when a route renumbering in the area replaced the ambiguous Highway 20A fork at Long's Corners. The north-south section of Highway 20A running along Upper Gage Avenue from Downtown Hamilton to Long's Corners was renumbered as Highway 55. The east-west portion of the Upper Mountain Highway was renumbered as Highway 53. This latter renumbering extended the existing route of Highway 53, which previously ran from Woodstock to Brantford only. The replacement of the Highway 20A designation with the Highway 53 designation greatly improved the highway numbering logic in the area. The new Highway 53 designation ensured that a motorist heading to Niagara Falls would only have to follow that one highway number once east of Woodstock in order to locate Highway 20. The original purpose of the Upper Mountain Highway was to keep Niagara-bound traffic from London and Brantford out of Downtown Hamilton. The new Highway 53 designation helped to achieve this goal.
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