History of King's Highway 62:
King's Highway 62 is a major arterial highway that passes through the heart of Central Ontario. The highway begins in Prince Edward County at the Highway 33 Junction in Bloomfield, and continues north through Belleville and Hastings County to Bancroft. Highway 62 links with Highway 127 north of Bancroft. Until 1998, the highway continued even further north to Pembroke in the Upper Ottawa Valley. Highway 62 was once one of Ontario's longest highways, with a total length of nearly 300 km. Almost half of the highway was downloaded to municipalities in 1997-1998.
The history of Highway 62 dates back to 1937, when a new provincial highway was designated through Hastings and Renfrew Counties. The new highway began at Highway 7 in Madoc and ended at Highway 17 in Pembroke. In a strange twist of circumstances, this brand new highway ended up going down in history as the highway that was never finished. When the highway was originally planned out, it was supposed to head north from the Highway 60 Junction in Barry's Bay and then head northeasterly towards Pembroke. While most of the highway was in operation by the end of 1937, a section between Barry's Bay and Round Lake was left incomplete. On many early maps, including the 1937-1938 and 1938-1939 editions of the Official Ontario Road Map, this road is erroneously shown as complete. The approximate route of this incomplete section of Highway 62 would have followed Bear Trail Road and much of Paugh Lake Road. To this day, this section of the highway has not been constructed. Most of Highway 62 between Madoc and Maynooth followed the route of the old Hastings Colonization Road. This winding, narrow road was in a poor state of repair when it was assumed in 1937. It was quickly decided that a new road on a different alignment should be built. Between Millbridge and L'Amable, a 40 km bypass of the old Hastings Road was constructed during the late 1930s.
For years, the Department of Highways dealt with the nuisance of a disconnected section of Highway 62 lying north of Barry's Bay. Unfortunately, Highway 62 carried little traffic, so there was almost no incentive to unite the discontinuous northern leg with the rest of Highway 62. Finally, in the 1960s, plans were drawn up to realign Highway 62 along the eastern shore of Round Lake, ending the northern section of the highway at Killaloe. Under this proposal, Highway 62 would then run concurrently with Highway 60 between Killaloe and Barry's Bay, to connect the northern leg to the southern leg. However, with so many other construction priorities, the project was continuously deferred. In 1968, the proposed eastern Round Lake realignment was cancelled, and instead, Highway 62 assumed the entire route of Secondary Highway 521 around the west shore of Round Lake. This resulted in Highway 62 having a rather illogical, circuitous route around Round Lake. However, the 1968 extension did finally unite the two discontinuous sections of Highway 62, which had been separated since their original designation in 1937. The original 1937 plan, which called for a direct Highway 62 link from Round Lake to Barry's Bay, was never completed. Consequently, Highway 62 has found its place in the history books as the highway that was never finished.
During the mid-1960s, Highway 62 was extended 29 km south to meet up with Highway 14 in Foxboro. In the early 1980s, Highway 62 assumed the routing of Highway 14 from Foxboro southerly to Bloomfield. When the Pembroke Bypass opened in the early 1980s, the section of Highway 62 lying east of Highway 17 was renumbered as Highway 148. In 1998, the entire section of Highway 62 from Maynooth to Pembroke was downloaded. From Maynooth to Barry's Bay, the former highway is now known as Hastings Highlands Road 62 and Renfrew Road 62. The northern leg of Highway 62 between Killaloe and Pembroke is now known as Renfrew Road 58. The concurrent routing of Highway 60/62 between Barry's Bay and Killaloe was discontinued. The current length of Highway 62 is 165 km.
Highway 62 traverses a particularly rural portion of Central Ontario. The only major towns located along the original highway are Belleville, Madoc, Bancroft, Barry's Bay and Pembroke. Most sections of Highway 62 are two lanes, although one section leading north out of Belleville will be reconstructed as a four-lane undivided highway in 2008. Passing lanes appear periodically along Highway 62, particularly north of Bancroft. Services along Highway 62 are generally quite scarce outside of communities. Moose are quite common along the northern sections of Highway 62. These enormous animals can often be seen crossing the highway corridor, especially north of Maynooth. 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 the northern sections of Highway 62 at night. The speed limit on Highway 62 is 80 km/h (50 mph), unless posted otherwise. Please visit the Highway 62 Mileage Chart page for a list of mileage reference points along Highway 62.
Additional Information About King's Highway 62:
Learn More About King's Highway 62 (My Upcoming Publications)
King's Highway 62 - Route Information (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)
King's Highway 62 - A Virtual Tour (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)