History of King's Highway 8A (Hamilton):
King's Highway 8A was a short but very important highway which connected Burlington to Stoney Creek, via Burlington Beach. The highway ran from Highway 2 in Downtown Burlington to Highway 8 in Stoney Creek. The history of Highway 8A dates back to the early 1920s, when the Department of Public Highways of Ontario (DPHO) assumed a new cut-off route across Burlington Beach to allow through traffic between Toronto and the Niagara Peninsula to bypass Downtown Hamilton. Preliminary Route Plans were prepared dated February 21, 1923, showing the proposed assumption of the Beach Road between Burlington and Stoney Creek. In addition, a spur route was established along Hamilton's Beach Road between Hamilton Beach and the Hamilton City Limits at Strathearne Avenue, which served as a new northeast entrance highway to the City of Hamilton. The new Burlington-Stoney Creek Highway along with the Hamilton Northeast Entrance Spur were first assumed by the DPHO on May 2, 1923. This short 9.5 km connector highway was assigned the route number Highway 8A when route numbers were first introduced on Ontario's Highways in 1925 (See Map). Apparently, the Hamilton Northeast Entrance Spur was also designated as Highway 8A. Under the 1925 highway numbering system, the Highway 8A designation was one of only two auxiliary route numbers designated, although a second route of Highway 8A also existed between St. David's and Queenston. The other auxiliary route designation introduced in 1925 was Highway 12A, which ran from Port Hope to Peterborough. Highway 8A was paved in sections between 1923 and 1927.
During the late 1920s, several changes were made to the route of Highway 8A. As originally assumed, Highway 8A followed the Beach Road southeasterly from Burlington to the Stoney Creek Station area, where the highway turned south via Lake Avenue to meet Highway 8 just north of Stoney Creek. The section of the highway which followed Lake Avenue was rather indirect and meandering. The DPHO decided to establish a new route for Highway 8A via Webster's Side Road (today's Centennial Parkway) in order to provide a more direct connection to Highway 8 northwest of Stoney Creek. Also, a new cut-off route was established into Hamilton for the Northeast Entrance Spur. The original spur route into Hamilton via Beach Road crossed numerous railway lines. The new Windermere Cut-Off across Redhill Creek eliminated a total of nine at-grade railway crossings, and therefore provided a more efficient entrance route into Hamilton. A Preliminary Route Plan was prepared dated July 6, 1927, showing the proposed diversions of both routes. The new routes were both assumed as Provincial Highways by the DPHO on October 5, 1927. The former spur route of Highway 8A via Beach Road between the Burlington-Stoney Creek Highway and the Windermere Cut-Off was transferred from the province to the Township of Saltfleet on August 18, 1928. The bypassed former route of Highway 8A via Lake Avenue through Stoney Creek Station was transferred from the province to the Township of Saltfleet on December 9, 1929.
In 1930, Provincial Highway 8A was re-designated as King's Highway 8A. During that year, the DPHO assumed a new route between Hamilton and Niagara Falls, known as King's Highway 20. In October, 1930, construction began on a new highway connecting Stoney Creek to Highway 20 at Elfrida. This new route ascended the Niagara Escarpment south of Stoney Creek through a newly-built cut. The new highway was first assumed by the DPHO on November 26, 1930, although construction wasn't completed on the new highway until 1932. According to DPHO records, it appears that this new highway south of Stoney Creek was intended to become an extension of Highway 8A. However, at the conclusion of construction of the Stoney Creek Cut in 1932, it was decided that the new route should instead by designated as Highway 20. That decision led to the assignment of new route numbers to several highways in the Stoney Creek area. The entire route of Highway 8A from Burlington to Stoney Creek was renumbered as Highway 20, including the extension through the Stoney Creek Cut (See Map). The Windermere Cut-Off portion of Highway 8A was re-designated as Highway 20A, while the old route of Highway 20 from Elfrida to Downtown Hamilton was re-designated as Highway 20A. Although the route of Highway 8A between Burlington and the Stoney Creek area was erased from existence as a result of the 1932 highway renumbering, the other route of Highway 8A between St. David's and Queenston continued to exist up until 1970.
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