History of Secondary Highway 601:
Secondary Highway 601 is a local highway in the District of Kenora that provides access to a number of rural townships and lakes in the Dryden area, as well as Dryden's airport. Highway 601 was first depicted on a Preliminary Route Plan prepared by the Department of Highways of Ontario (DHO) in April 1956, and was designated by an Order-in-Council dated May 9, 1956. Originally known as the Rice Lake Loop Road, the new route of Highway 601 was 16 miles (26 km) in length. The highway formed a horseshoe-shaped loop, which extended north from Highway 17 in Dryden and reconnected with Highway 17 about 3 miles east of Dryden. Highway 601 was originally gravel-surfaced for its entire length, but a primed bituminous surface was constructed along the highway in 1970-1971.
A change was made to the route of Highway 601 when the Dryden Airport was expanded. A bypass route was established to carry Highway 601 around the airport runways. A Preliminary Assumption Plan was prepared by the Ministry of Transportation & Communications (MTC) on March 7, 1977, indicating the intention to assume the existing Airport Loop Road as part of Highway 601. The plan was registered on April 20, 1977, and the extension of Highway 601 around the airport was formally designated as a Secondary Highway by an Order-in-Council, effective January 29, 1981. This designation included a short diversion at the southern part of the Airport Loop Road, which had been constructed in the late 1970s. Jurisdiction over a short section of Highway 601 in Dryden was transferred from the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) to the City of Dryden, effective January 1, 1998. This 1.6 km section of Highway 601 extended north from the Highway 17 Junction in Dryden to the north city limits at Theil Road & Leach Road. However, this downloaded section of Highway 601 is still signed as such in order to preserve route continuity. Unless posted otherwise, the speed limit on Highway 601 is 80 km/h (50 mph). There are no services available on this highway, but services are available along Highway 17 in Dryden.