History of King's Highway 404:
King's Highway 404 is an important freeway corridor which connects Toronto to Newmarket. The highway passes through the heart of York Region and will eventually continue north towards the Sutton and Beaverton areas on the south shore of Lake Simcoe. Highway 404 is essentially a northern extension of the Don Valley Parkway, which is an important municipal freeway leading out of Downtown Toronto. The northern portion of the Don Valley Parkway near Highway 401 was constructed in the 1960s by rebuilding the existing lanes of Woodbine Avenue as a freeway. In 1967, the Don Valley Parkway was completed to Sheppard Avenue, located just north of Highway 401. It was then decided that the Province of Ontario should construct the rest of the highway from Sheppard Avenue northerly to Highway 7 near Richmond Hill. Construction of Highway 404 began in the early 1970s. The first section of Highway 404 was completed from Highway 401 to Steeles Avenue in 1977. The rest of the highway from Steeles Avenue to Davis Drive was completed in several stages throughout the 1980s.
In 1999, construction resumed on Highway 404. The highway was extended northerly from Davis Drive to Green Lane, as part of a greater plan to extend Highway 404 to the Beaverton area. The extension to Green Lane was completed and opened to traffic on February 4, 2002. In 2007, the first of several construction contracts was awarded to begin construction on the Highway 404 Extension from Green Lane to Ravenshoe Road. This work is expected to take several years to complete. This new 16 km extension of Highway 404 will likely open between Green Lane and Queensville Sideroad in 2012 and from Queensville Sideroad to Ravenshoe Road by 2013, providing that government funding and construction contracts remain on schedule. No construction schedule has been announced for the future Highway 404 between Ravenshoe Road near Keswick and Highway 48 near Beaverton.
Highway 404 is a minimum of eight lanes, with four lanes provided for each direction of travel from Highway 401 to Highway 7. The highway is at least six lanes from Highway 7 to Aurora Road and four lanes from Aurora Road to Green Lane. On December 13, 2005, a High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Carpool Lane was completed along Highway 404 Southbound from Highway 7 to Highway 401. This reconstruction project along Highway 404 also included a dedicated HOV-only access ramp to Highway 401 Westbound. An additional HOV lane was completed on Highway 404 Northbound from Highway 401 to Highway 7 on July 23, 2007. There is now one HOV lane in each direction from Highway 7 to Highway 401. The HOV Lanes are for the exclusive use of public transit vehicles and passenger vehicles with at least two occupants. Transport trucks are prohibited from the HOV Lanes, as are passenger vehicles with only one occupant. The intention of these HOV Lanes is to ease traffic congestion by encouraging public transit use and carpooling. Drivers who violate the minimum occupancy requirements of the HOV Lanes are subject to a fine of $110.00 and 3 Demerit Points under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. The HOV Lanes on Highway 404 have been a great success. The lanes now carry an average of over 1,300 vehicles per hour during peak travel periods. Future HOV Lanes are planned along Highway 404 from Highway 7 northerly towards the Aurora and Newmarket area.
There are no Service Centres located along Highway 404, but services are available at all exits. The posted speed limit on Highway 404 is 100 km/h (60 mph), unless posted otherwise. Exits along Highway 404 are numbered based on their distance from Downtown Toronto, although the "first" exit on Highway 404 is actually at Highway 401 (Exit #17). Approximate distances along the highway can be calculated by subtracting one exit number from another. For example, the distance from Highway 401 (Exit #17) to Davis Drive (Exit #51) is 34 km (51 - 17 = 34). Please visit the Highway 404 Mileage Chart page for a list of interchange numbers along Highway 404.
Additional Information About King's Highway 404:
Learn More About King's Highway 404 (My Upcoming Publications)
King's Highway 404 - Route Information (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)
King's Highway 404 - A Virtual Tour (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)