History of King's Highway 24:
King's Highway 24 is a major arterial highway which links Simcoe to Cambridge, via Brantford. Until recently, the highway was much longer, extending from Long Point on Lake Erie to Collingwood on Georgian Bay. Most sections of Highway 24 were transferred to municipalities during the hastily-executed highway downloading of 1997-1998, which saw thousands of kilometres of provincial highways handed over to cities and counties across Ontario. About 70% of the highway was downloaded. The highway is now only 75 km long. Highway 24 was first designated in 1927, extending from Simcoe to Guelph. The highway was extended from Simcoe to Port Dover in 1936 and from Guelph to Collingwood in 1937-1938. The highway was relocated from Brantford to Simcoe in the late 1960s to bypass the meandering original road and a number of small communities which lined it. In 1970, Highway 24 was rerouted between Simcoe and Long Point. The old highway into Port Dover became a part of Highway 6. The Hespeler Bypass was completed and opened to traffic in 1992. In 1997-1998, all portions of Highway 24 lying south of Highway 3 in Simcoe were downloaded, as were all portions lying north of Highway 401 in Cambridge. The southernmost section of Highway 24 from Simcoe southerly to the Highway 59 Junction at Long Point was downloaded on March 31, 1997. The northern section of Highway 24 from Cambridge northerly to Collingwood survived until the following year, when this portion of the highway was also transferred, effective January 1, 1998.
The Ministry of Transportation is currently studying transportation improvement opportunities between Brantford and Cambridge. The existing Highway 24 is becoming congested and these conditions are expected to worsen over the next 20 years, given the population growth expected in this area. Since there is no direct access from Highway 24 to either Highway 401 or Highway 403, all through traffic has to pass through the built-up, urbanized areas of Cambridge and Brantford. Presently, this is the source of most of the traffic congestion on Highway 24, but the rural sections of Highway 24 are also expected to reach capacity within the coming decade. A new Highway 24 corridor between Brantford and Cambridge was being considered during a recent planning study. However, in 2008, a new study was launched to identify a potential corridor in a redefined study area that incorporated areas to the west of Cambridge and Brantford that the previous study had not evaluated. The previous study also included most areas between Cambridge and Brantford, but was more focused on finding a potential corridor to the east of the two cities.
It has been erroneously reported by many media sources and special interest groups that this potential new highway corridor will be a four-lane 400-series highway, known as Highway 424. This is actually incorrect. While the MTO is examining several potential transportation corridor options, all of the highway plans are for a limited access two-lane highway with a possible transitway corridor option. The exact route of this transportation corridor is still to be determined. The final route selection for the proposed corridor will be done through careful environmental assessments and design phases. Consequently, construction of this new transportation corridor is still several years away.
Highway 24 traverses a mostly rural portion of Southern Ontario, although it does pass through several large cities and towns along its route. The principal towns located along the highway are Simcoe, Brantford, Cambridge, Guelph, Erin, Caledon, Orangeville, Shelburne and Collingwood. Most sections of Highway 24 are two lanes, but there are some short undivided four-lane sections from Brantford to Highway 5, from Orangeville northerly for about 10 km to Camilla and from Primrose to Shelburne. The Hespeler Bypass is a four-lane divided expressway. Passing lanes appear periodically along Highway 24 from Brantford to Shelburne. Services along Highway 24 are generally quite plentiful, except in some of the rural areas between Long Point and Simcoe, where services are somewhat scarce outside of communities. Services are very scarce between Shelburne and Singhampton. The speed limit on Highway 24 is 80 km/h (50 mph), unless posted otherwise. Please visit the Highway 24 Mileage Chart page for a list of mileage reference points along Highway 24.
Winter Driving Tip: The northern section of Highway 24 is one of Ontario's most notorious highways when it comes to winter road conditions. The highway is frequently closed during the winter between Shelburne and Collingwood due to blowing and drifting snow. Blowing snow will often result in zero-visibility conditions. Skiers and snowboarders heading to Blue Mountain and other surrounding ski resorts should inquire at the ski resort about road conditions before they leave in the evening, as Highway 24 can be very dangerous at night when blowing and drifting snow conditions exist. The weather conditions on this highway can deteriorate very rapidly when snowsqualls blow in from nearby Georgian Bay. On cold, windy days, it is highly advisable to find an alternate route between Shelburne and Collingwood. Airport Road runs parallel to Highway 24. Since the road lies below the Niagara Escarpment, it is less likely to be closed due to drifting and blowing snow, making this a potential alternate route in poor weather conditions.
Additional Information About King's Highway 24:
Learn More About King's Highway 24 (My Upcoming Publications)
King's Highway 24 - Route Information (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)
King's Highway 24 - A Virtual Tour (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)