History of King's Highway 9:
King's Highway 9 is a major trunk highway which connects Orangeville with Highway 400 near Newmarket. The highway also has a discontinuous western section which extends from Harriston to Kincardine. Until recently, these two discontinuous segments of Highway 9 formed one single highway link, stretching nearly 200 km from Kincardine to Newmarket. Highway 9 passes through a predominantly rural area, occasionally passing through some cities and small towns along its route. The principal towns located along the original highway are Kincardine, Walkerton, Harriston, Arthur, Orangeville, Schomberg and Newmarket.
In 1920, the Arthur-Kincardine Road (via Teviotdale, Harriston and Walkerton) was designated as a new Provincial Highway. The highway was later designed as Highway 9, when highway route numbering was introduced in the mid-1920s. In the early 1930s, Highway 9 was extended easterly from Arthur to Orangeville. In addition, a new provincial highway was assumed between Primrose and Cookstown. This new highway was also designated as Highway 9. To connect the two sections, Highway 9 was signed concurrently with Highway 10 between Orangeville and Primrose. A route renumbering took place in 1937, when the Department of Highways assumed a new provincial highway between Orangeville and Schomberg. This new highway was designated as a section of Highway 9, while the old route of Highway 9 from Primrose to Cookstown became Highway 89. The old concurrent route of Highway 9/10 between Orangeville and Primrose was discontinued altogether. In the late 1960s, Highway 9 was extended from Schomberg to Highway 11 in Newmarket. Initially, there was no interchange between Highway 9 and Highway 400, although ramps connecting the two highways were eventually constructed in the late 1960s. The extension from Schomberg to Newmarket brought the total length of Highway 9 up to 192 km. The route of Highway 9 remained unchanged until 1998.
On January 1, 1998, the section of Highway 9 between Harriston and Orangeville was downloaded. This road is now known as Wellington Road 109 and Dufferin Road 109. On September 1, 1999, another section of Highway 9 was downloaded between Highway 400 and Newmarket. This section is now known as York Road 31. This rather short-sighted highway download left this important route carved up into two separate pieces. The eastern section of Highway 9 goes from Highway 400 to Highway 10 in Orangeville, while the discontinuous western section runs from Highway 89 in Harriston to Highway 21 in Kincardine. The two sections are separated by a 68 km "gap", in which the former provincial highway was supplanted by a municipally-owned county road. This is probably one of the most bizarre situations that resulted from the 1997-1998 highway downloading. The situation is very confusing for motorists, who now have to negotiate this "gap" in Highway 9 without the aid of provincial highway signs. Highway 9 is often cited as an example by opponents of highway downloading, to demonstrate the thoughtlessness of the municipal highway transfers of the 1990s. This odd highway route numbering may be rectified one day, as the MTO's Highway Numbering Committee is reportedly studying an option to renumber the discontinuous western leg of Highway 9 as an extension of Highway 89, or to renumber the route as Highway 109. It should be noted that no decision has been made by the MTO at this point, and this road will retain the King's Highway 9 designation for the time being.
Highway 9 is mostly a two-lane highway, with some undivided four-lane sections situated near towns. The former section of Highway 9 between Highway 400 and Newmarket is a four-lane undivided highway. Passing lanes appear periodically along Highway 9, particularly between Schomberg and Orangeville. Services along Highway 9 are generally quite plentiful, except in some of the rural areas between Kincardine and Orangeville, where services are somewhat scarce outside of major communities. Unless posted otherwise, the speed limit on Highway 9 is 80 km/h (50 mph).
Winter Driving Tip: The western section of Highway 9 is known for poor winter road conditions. The highway is sometimes closed during periods of poor winter weather between Walkerton and Kincardine, due to blowing and drifting snow. Blowing snow will often result in zero-visibility conditions. The weather conditions on this highway can deteriorate very rapidly when snowsqualls blow in from nearby Lake Huron. On cold, windy days, it is a good idea to check the Road Closures and Winter Road Conditions pages on the Ministry of Transportation's Website, or verify road conditions by telephone at 1-800-268-4686 before using the western portion of Highway 9.
Additional Information About King's Highway 9:
Learn More About King's Highway 9 (My Upcoming Publications)
King's Highway 9 - Route Information (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)
King's Highway 9 - A Virtual Tour (At Scott Steeves' website: asphaltplanet.ca)