History of King's Highway 8A (Niagara):
King's Highway 8A was a short but important highway in Lincoln County which connected Highway 8 at St. David's with the Queenston International Bridge. The history of Highway 8A dates back to 1918, when the Department of Public Highways of Ontario (DPHO) assumed jurisdiction over a road between Hamilton and Queenston. A Preliminary Route Plan was prepared by the DPHO dated July 10, 1918, which showed the proposed assumption of the Grimsby and Queenston Stone Roads between Hamilton and Queenston as a new provincial highway. The new route was first assumed by the DPHO on August 15, 1918. When route numbers were first assigned to Ontario's Provincial Highways in 1925, the section of the Hamilton-Queenston Highway between Queenston and St. David's was designated as Provincial Highway 8A. It was one of two routes assigned the Highway 8A designation in 1925. The other route of Highway 8A connected Highway 8 in Stoney Creek to Highway 2 in Burlington. At the time of assumption in 1918, the Hamilton-Queenston Highway was surfaced with either gravel or water-bound macadam. The road was surface-treated with oil in the summer of 1919, in order to control dust. The highway was paved in the early 1920s. Provincial Highway 8A was re-designated as King's Highway 8A in 1930.
The route of Highway 8A changed only slightly during its 52-year existence. As originally assumed in 1918, Highway 8A ended at the intersection of the entrance road to the old Queenston International Bridge and Front Street. The entrance to the Queenston International Bridge itself was designated as an extension of Highway 8A, effective May 15, 1958. Once the new Queenston-Lewiston International Bridge was completed and opened to traffic on November 1, 1962, the old bridge at Queenston was closed and dismantled. As a result, the entrance road to the Queenston International Bridge was legally closed to traffic by an Order-in-Council, effective April 1, 1966. Jurisdiction over the section of Highway 8A between Front Street and the Niagara Parkway was transferred from the province to the Township of Niagara, effective April 1, 1966. The balance of Highway 8A from St. David's to the Niagara Parkway remained in the provincial highway system until 1970. Jurisdiction over Highway 8A was transferred from the province to the newly-formed Regional Municipality of Niagara, effective September 1, 1970.
Former Highway 8A is now known as Niagara Regional Road 81. It is a two-lane road from Queenston to St. David's. Unless posted otherwise, the speed limit on this former provincial highway is 80 km/h (50 mph). Services are located in St. David's. Please note that motorists can no longer access the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge from Former Highway 8A. The ramp leading onto eastbound Highway 405 at the Niagara Parkway was closed off several years ago. To reach the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, motorists must turn south at St. David's onto St. Paul Avenue and watch for signs directing traffic towards the Highway 405 Interchange at Stanley Avenue.