Hwy 78 Hwy 78 Hwy 78   

Ontario Highway 78 Quick Facts:
  • Years in Existence: 1938-1998
  • Current Status: Decommissioned in 1998
  • Current Name: Chatham-Kent Road 78
  • Location: Southern Ontario
  • Counties Served: Chatham-Kent
  • Towns Served: Dresden & Wallaceburg
  • Western Terminus: Hwy 40 - Wallaceburg
  • Eastern Terminus: Hwy 21 - Dresden
  • Length in 1997 (Before Downloading): 17.6 km / 10.9 miles
HWY 78 - © Cameron Bevers
King's Highway 78 Sign © Cameron Bevers

History of King's Highway 78:

King's Highway 78 was a short collector highway which connected Highway 21 at Dresden to Highway 40 in Wallaceburg. The highway was 18 km in length and it existed up until the late 1990s, when it was downloaded to the newly-formed Municipality of Chatham-Kent. The history of Highway 78 dates back to the late 1930s, when the Department of Highways of Ontario (DHO) assumed the Dresden-Wallaceburg Road in Kent County as a new King's Highway. On October 7, 1937, a Preliminary Route Plan was prepared showing the proposed assumption of the existing road between Dresden and Wallaceburg. The DHO acquired ownership of the Dresden-Wallaceburg Road on April 13, 1938, when the road was assumed as a King's Highway (See Map). The section of the road passing through Wallaceburg was not assumed by the DHO and thus that section remained under municipal jurisdiction. Highway 78 was already paved when it was designated in 1938. However, the existing pavement width was very narrow - the traffic lanes on Highway 78 were only 8 feet (2.4 metres) in width. In fact, the highway was so narrow that Official Ontario Road Bulletins issued in the 1940s and early 1950s actually warned motorists to use caution on Highway 78 due to the narrow width of this highway. This situation existed up until 1952, when Highway 78 was reconstructed with standard lane widths.

In 1963, Highway 78 was extended easterly from Dresden for a distance of 20 km along the existing route of Highway 21 to meet up with Highway 2 at Thamesville (See Map). Presumably, this was done to encourage westbound Highway 2 motorists to take Highway 78 to Wallaceburg, as opposed to using the congested (and longer) route of Highway 40 through Chatham. However, the concurrent route of Highway 21 & Highway 78 between Dresden and Thamesville was short lived, and was discontinued in 1969. Between 1969 and 1998, Highway 78 ended at its original 1938 terminus at Dresden. On January 1, 1998, the entire highway was downloaded. The former route of Highway 78 is now officially known as Chatham-Kent Road 78, although the road is still often referred to as "Highway 78" by motorists. Services are available in Dresden and Wallaceburg. Unless posted otherwise, the speed limit on Highway 78 is 80 km/h (50 mph). Please visit the Highway 78 Mileage Chart page for a list of mileage reference points along Highway 78.





HWY 78 ROUTE MAP - © Cameron Bevers             HWY 78 MILEAGE TABLE - © Cameron Bevers             HWY 78 PHOTOGRAPHS - © Cameron Bevers


Additional Information About King's Highway 78:

Learn More About King's Highway 78  (My Upcoming Publications)

King's Highway 78 - Route Information  (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)


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