Hwy 39 Sign Graphic Hwy 39 Title Graphic Hwy 39 Sign Graphic   

Ontario Highway 39 Quick Facts:
  • Years in Existence: 1934-1970
  • Current Status: Renumbered as King's Highway 2 in 1970
  • Current Names: Essex Road 22, Mulberry Drive, Banwell Road & Tecumseh Road
  • Location: Southern Ontario
  • Counties Served: Essex
  • Towns Served: Windsor, Tecumseh, St. Clair Beach & Belle River
  • Western Terminus: Hwy 2 (Howard Avenue) - Windsor
  • Eastern Terminus: Hwy 2 - South of Belle River
  • Length in 1968: 30.4 km / 18.9 miles
HWY 39 ROUTE MARKER
King's Highway 39 Sign
Image courtesy of Jamie Malecki

History of King's Highway 39:

King's Highway 39 served as an alternate route to Highway 2 through Essex County between Windsor and Belle River. The history of Highway 39 dates back to 1934, when the Department of Highways of Ontario (DHO) assumed the Windsor-Belle River Road (Tecumseh Road) as a new provincial highway. A Preliminary Route Plan was prepared by the DHO dated June 14, 1934, which showed the proposed assumption of a new King's Highway between Windsor and the Highway 2 Junction south of Belle River. The new route was assumed as King's Highway 39 on July 11, 1934. The new highway was 35 km in length and was already completely paved when it was first commissioned (See Map).

As originally established in 1934, the DHO did not assume the urbanized parts of Highway 39 lying within the limits of the Village of Belle River or the Town of Tecumseh. Provincial jurisdiction over Highway 39 ended at the limits of the Town of Walkerville at Drouillard Road. From that point westerly through the Town of Walkerville and the City of Windsor, the route of Highway 39 was entirely under municipal jurisdiction. Highway 39 continued westerly into the City of Windsor along a non-assumed section of the highway via Tecumseh Road. The non-assumed section of Highway 39 through the Town of Tecumseh was designated as a Municipal Connecting Link, effective January 9, 1959, and the non-assumed section of the highway through the Village of Belle River was designated as a Municipal Connecting Link, effective March 2, 1961.

For a number of years, the City of Windsor elected to sign Highway 39 along Ouellette Avenue to the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel Entrance. This city-signed route of Highway 39 apparently continued west along Tecumseh Road to Ouellette Avenue (Highway 3B), where Highway 39 turned right and headed into Downtown Windsor. Based on historical photographs, the city-signed route of Highway 39 along Ouellette Avenue was signed concurrently with Highway 2, Highway 3B & Highway 98 throughout the 1940s and 1950s. It is not clear when the city discontinued to sign Highway 39 via Ouellette Avenue, but it is believed to have been prior to 1960. According to DHO's mileage logs produced during the 1960s, Highway 39 officially ended at the Highway 2 Junction at Tecumseh Road & Howard Avenue.

A section of Highway 39 was relocated near Tecumseh, St. Clair Beach and Pike Creek in the early 1960s. The new highway began at Banwell Road and bypassed these towns on a limited-access highway alignment a short distance to the south of the original route of Highway 39. The Tecumseh, St. Clair Beach and Pike Creek Bypass was completed and opened to traffic from Banwell Road to the Puce River in November, 1961 (See Map). The old route of Highway 39 through these towns was renumbered as Highway 39B. When the City of Windsor annexed several adjacent towns in 1966, the city limits were expanded significantly. As a result, the DHO decided to transfer jurisdiction over the urbanized, provincially-owned section of Highway 39 (Tecumseh Boulevard) lying between Banwell Road and Drouillard Road to the City of Windsor, effective July 30, 1966.

Once Highway 401 was completed, the DHO noticed a substantial shift in traffic patterns. During the 1960s, the DHO evaluated all of the provincial highways through Essex County and determined that some highways had become redundant. One of the affected routes was Highway 2 between Windsor and the St. Joachim area, where the highway was closely paralleled by Highway 401 to the south and Highway 39 to the north. It was decided that jurisdiction over Highway 2 from the Highway 39 Junction south of Belle River westerly to Windsor would be transferred to Essex County. The highway transfer took place on June 1, 1970. Rather than have Highway 2 end arbitrarily at a point between St. Joachim and Belle River, the DHO decided to renumber the entire route of Highway 39 via Belle River as an extension of Highway 2. The change in route numbers from Highway 39 to Highway 2 is believed to have taken place sometime in the Summer of 1970, as the 1970 Official Ontario Road Map curiously shows Highway 39 and Highway 2 sharing a common terminus south of Belle River. However, the DHO mileage logs for 1970 show Highway 2 extending west to Windsor via the former route of Highway 39. The Highway 39 designation was retired and has not been in use ever since.





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