History of King's Highway 81:
King's Highway 81 was a minor collector highway which linked Highway 2 at Delaware to Highway 21 in Grand Bend. The highway was first designated in 1936, and it existed up until the late 1990s when the route was downloaded in its entirety to the Counties of Middlesex and Huron.
Highway 81 was first designated as a provincial highway on September 16, 1936, at a length of 18 km. Originally, Highway 81 ran from Highway 2 at Delaware to Highway 22 in Strathroy, but the route was quickly extended north from Strathroy to Grand Bend the following year. On September 1, 1937, the Ontario Department of Highways assumed a series of local roads from Strathroy to Grand Bend as a new section of Highway 81. The highway was paved between Highway 2 and Mount Brydges in 1937. However, the rest of Highway 81 from Mount Brydges to Grand Bend was gravel-surfaced. The only exception was a short piece of the highway from the Highway 7 Junction in Parkhill to Moray, which was paved prior to the assumption of this section of Highway 81 in 1937.
In 1946, Highway 81 was relocated near the community of Springbank. Originally, Highway 81 used to pass right through Springbank, via Springbank Road and Glasgow Street, but the highway was realigned in order to eliminate several sharp curves along the original highway. In 1949, Highway 81 was paved from Mount Brydges to Strathroy. Highway 81 was paved from Moray to Grand Bend in 1951 and from Strathroy to the new Highway 22 Junction in 1954. The balance of Highway 81, from the new Highway 22 Junction north of Strathroy to the Highway 7 Junction east of Parkhill, remained a gravel-surfaced highway until 1965. That year, the last gravel section on Highway 81 was paved during a major road reconstruction project.
The entire route of Highway 81 was decommissioned as a King's Highway in 1997-1998. On March 31, 1997, the section of Highway 81 between Delaware and Highway 402 was downloaded. The remainder of the highway from Highway 402 northerly to Grand Bend was transferred on January 1, 1998. Ownership of the road was transferred to the Counties of Middlesex and Huron. Former Highway 81 is now officially known as Middlesex Road 81 and Huron Road 81, but the route is still commonly referred to as "Highway 81" by many motorists. Services are available in most larger communities along Highway 81. Unless posted otherwise, the speed limit on Highway 81 is 90 km/h (55 mph). Please visit the Highway 81 Mileage Chart page for a list of mileage reference points along Highway 81.
Additional Information About King's Highway 81:
Learn More About King's Highway 81 (My Upcoming Publications)
King's Highway 81 - Route Information (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)
King's Highway 81 - A Virtual Tour (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)