History of King's Highway 79:
King's Highway 79 was a minor collector highway which linked Highway 2 at Bothwell to Highway 21 at Port Franks. The highway was first designated in 1937, and it existed up until the late 1990s when the route was downloaded in its entirety to the County of Lambton and the newly-created Municipality of Chatham-Kent. Highway 79 was one of the longest routes in Southwestern Ontario to be lost to the downloading spree of 1997-1998.
Highway 79 was first designated as a provincial highway on August 11, 1937, at a length of 41 km. Originally, Highway 79 ran from Highway 2 near Bothwell to Highway 22 in Watford. The highway was paved between Highway 2 and Bothwell in 1938. In 1947, Highway 22 was relocated between London and Highway 7 north of Watford. As a result of this route relocation, Highway 79 assumed 5.5 km of the old route of Highway 22. This section of Old Highway 22 from Watford to Highway 7 was already paved when the designation was changed to Highway 79. In 1950, paving work was completed from Watford southerly to a point just north of the Highway 80 Junction in Alvinston. The final gravel section on Highway 79 between Bothwell and Alvinston was paved in 1952.
In 1982, a major route renumbering took place near Port Franks which resulted in Highway 79 being extended by 31 km. The defunct route of Highway 82 through Thedford was renumbered as Highway 79. In order to unite the northern and southern sections of Highway 79, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation applied the Highway 79 designation concurrently along the route of Highway 7 between Watford and Thedford. This resulted in a 20 km multiplex between Highway 7 and Highway 79. No further changes were made to the route of Highway 79 until March 31, 1997, when the entire portion of Highway 79 from the north junction of Highway 7 southerly to Highway 2 was downloaded. The remaining section of Highway 79 from Thedford up to Highway 21 was renumbered as Highway 7, albeit temporarily.
On January 1, 1998, the portion of former Highway 79 through Thedford, which had been temporarily redesignated as Highway 7 only eight months earlier, was also downloaded. The route is now officially known as Lambton County Road 79 from Port Franks to a point just north of Bothwell Station. The balance of the road situated within the former County of Kent is now officially known as Chatham-Kent Road 16. Despite the official name change, many motorists still refer to this route as "Highway 79" in its entirety. Services are surprisingly scarce on Highway 79. They are generally only available in larger towns and communities along the highway. Unless posted otherwise, the speed limit on Highway 79 is 90 km/h (55 mph). Please visit the Highway 79 Mileage Chart page for a list of mileage reference points along Highway 79.
Additional Information About King's Highway 79: