History of Secondary Highway 646:
Secondary Highway 646 was a minor collector highway that connected the small mining communities of Pickle Lake and Central Patricia, in extreme Northwestern Ontario. During the 1960s, Highway 646 also connected to the now-abandoned mining community of Pickle Crow. The highway first came into existence in 1963, when the Ontario Department of Highways (DHO) assumed the Pickle Lake Road from Highway 599 westerly to Pickle Lake as a new provincial highway. The province designated the Pickle Lake Road as Highway 646, effective November 21, 1963. Additionally, the short section of Highway 599 which led east from Central Patricia to Pickle Crow was renumbered as Highway 646, since the route of Highway 599 was in the process of being extended northerly past Central Patricia towards the Otaskwin River. The mines at Pickle Crow closed in the 1960s, and the entire townsite was abandoned. The ghost town of Pickle Crow was later burned to the ground. With no community left to serve on the eastern side of Highway 599, the province planned to legally close the eastern section of Highway 646 to traffic. An Order-in-Council was approved on January 24, 1973, allowing the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MTC) to close Highway 646 from the Highway 599 Junction at Central Patricia to the ghost town of Pickle Crow. The closure of the eastern section of Highway 646 set an unprecedented record. At a length of 4.58 miles, the east leg of Highway 646 became the longest section of provincial highway to be legally closed, that wasn't a direct result of a new highway diversion or a bypass being built. As a result of the closure of the eastern leg of Highway 646, the highway's total length shrunk from 11 km down to just under 4 km. The only piece of Highway 646 that remained ran from the community of Pickle Lake out to the Highway 599 Junction at Central Patricia.
In 1975, Highway 646 was extended westerly from the Pickle Lake townsite to the airport. The Pickle Lake Airport Road and Koval Street was designated as an extension of Highway 646 on August 20, 1975. The length of Highway 646 stood at 7.5 km for the next six years, until it was decided to decommission Highway 646 as a provincial highway altogether. On August 28, 1981, the entire route of Highway 646 from the Highway 599 Junction to Pickle Lake Airport was transferred to the Township of Pickle Lake. Since that time, Highway 646 has simply been known as Pickle Lake Road, Patricia Avenue, Koval Street and Airport Road. The route of Former Highway 646 is paved for its entire length. Unless posted otherwise, the speed limit on Former Highway 646 is 80 km/h (50 mph). Services are available in Pickle Lake.
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