Highway 404 (Ontario): Wikis


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Provincial Highway 404
Divided freeway
Maintained by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation
Length: 36.8 km (22.9 mi)[1]
Formed: 1977[citation needed]
Southern terminus:  Highway 401 / DVPToronto
Major junctions:  Highway 401 – Markham
 York Regional Road 7 (Highway 7) – Richmond Hill
Northern terminus:  York Regional Road 19 (Green Lane) – Newmarket
Map of Highway 404
Highway system
Ontario 400-Series Freeways
 Highway 403     404    Highway 405
Highway 404 southbound.
Highway 404 southbound, near the interchange with Steeles Avenue. Note the HOV lane on the left side of the carriageway.

Provincial Highway 404, also known as Highway 404 and colloquially as The 404, is a 400-series highway in the Canadian province of Ontario connecting Highway 401 and the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto to Newmarket. The highway mainly serves as a commuter road for those working in Toronto but also for those living in the northern suburbs of the city.



Highway 404 was originally planned to be an extension of the Don Valley Parkway (DVP) in 1957 as subdivisions encroached upon Woodbine Avenue. The freeway was to follow the alignment of Woodbine from its southern terminus at Lawrence Avenue to north of Steeles Avenue, where the province would continue the road as a "new King's Highway".[2] Highway 404 came under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (Now the MTO)) in 1977,[citation needed] at which point it was chosen to veer the highway onto a new alignment to the west of Woodbine Avenue and number it 404.

Initially, Highway 404 was completed from Highway 401 to Steeles Avenue with six lanes.[2] At the time, it had features atypical of 1970s provincial urban freeways, notably its grass median with a steel box-beam barrier and its conventional shaded high-pressure sodium lighting system, rather than the more common metal guardrail and mercury truss lights. North of Steeles Avenue, Highway 404 became a four-lane rural freeway.

As suburban sprawl progressed northward, the highway was widened to three lanes north to Aurora. Alongside the construction of Highway 407, Highway 404 was widened to ten lanes. An HOV lane was opened in the southbound lanes in 2004,[3] followed by one in the northbound lanes by 2008, bringing the lane total to twelve.

Upgrades and future extensions

In the late 1990s, Highway 404 underwent a major reconstruction with the earliest projects centering around the new Highway 407 ETR. Subsequently, the grass median and conventional lighting system was replaced with a tall-wall concrete barrier, high-mast lighting, and two additional lanes per direction from Highway 401 to Highway 407. North of Highway 407, Highway 404 was widened to six lanes to Aurora Road, and the lighting system was extended to Major Mackenzie Drive. Ramps serving 404 northbound were added to the existing partial interchange with 16th Avenue in 2002, and in 2003-2004, a new interchange was constructed with Elgin Mills Road.

Running parallel to Highway 400 approximately 15 kilometres (9.5 mi) to the east, the 404 extends 36 kilometres (22 mi) north-south. The MTO plans to further extend the 404 north (and then east) to near the junction of Highways 12 and 48 (Beaverton area), to better serve commuters and to provide an alternate highway link into Ontario's "cottage country". On May 16, 2006 the MTO announced plans to extend the highway 15 kilometres further north from Green Lane to Ravenshoe Rd. at the south end of Keswick. Construction is expected to commence sometime in 2008 with completion slated for 2011/12. This extension was confirmed by the MTO on March 5, 2007, and has been numbered Highway 7275.[4]

Highway 404 has 14 interchanges along its length, mostly of the Parclo A4 type. The fact that the exit numbers start at 17 suggest that the Don Valley Parkway was included in distance calculations when signing the exits, although there are no exit numbers posted on the Don Valley Parkway.

High Occupancy Lanes

Looking north along Highway 404 from Sheppard Avenue, just north of the highway's interchange with Highway 401 and the Don Valley Parkway. An HOV lane is visible among the southbound lanes and the Northbound 1 KM Post is seen.

High occupancy lanes (HOV) similar to those on Highway 403 in Peel Region have been added to the 404, from Highway 7 at the Beaver Creek crossing to the interchange with Highway 401 and the DVP; further space in the grass median exists for their extension. The HOV lanes are the leftmost lanes of the freeway, with a buffer strip (not a concrete barrier or guardrail) to separate them from the regular lanes.

The first HOV Lane projects commenced in the late 1990s and involved the construction of the Highway 407 interchange and the widening of the Highway 7 junction to incorporate the HOV lanes, although the extra pavement was blocked off and remained unused for over five years.

The next stage of HOV construction was the widening the freeway from Highway 401 to just north of Steeles Avenue using the median, in 1999-2001, along with improved ramps from Highway 401 eastbound to Highway 404 northbound. The new left lanes served general purpose traffic for the interim, while the freeway from Sheppard Avenue to Steeles Avenue was widened using the right shoulder to provide additional lanes for general purpose traffic. Once this was completed, the leftmost lanes were converted to HOV lanes.

Construction of the southbound HOV lane began in early 2004 and was completed in December 2005. This project included a curved underpass tunnel to the Highway 401 westbound, and collector lanes were added to reduce the weaving from incoming Sheppard Avenue traffic and outgoing traffic to Highway 401. South of the Sheppard Avenue overpasses, the HOV lane becomes two lanes, with the leftmost lane leading to 401 westbound collector lanes via a curved tunnel, while the right HOV lane traffic merges with Don Valley Parkway southbound traffic.

Work on the northbound HOV lane began shortly afterwards and was completed in July 2007, extending from north of Sheppard Avenue to Highway 7. At 8:30 AM EST on Monday, July 23, 2007, the northbound HOV lane opened to the public.

The Highway 7 overpasses currently have an additional lane which is currently blocked off but will allow for northward expansion of the HOV lanes.

Highway 404 southbound, showed the short collector-express lanes at Sheppard Avenue.

Volume information (2005)

Highway 404 is Ontario's third busiest freeway after Highway 401 and Highway 427.

  • Highest Volume: 250,800 AADT from Highway 401 / Don Valley Parkway (Exit 17) to Sheppard Avenue (Exit 18)
  • Lowest Volume: 32,200 AADT from Vivian Road/Mulock Road (Exit 49) to Davis Drive (Exit 51)

Lane configurations from south to north

Section Travel lanes
Highway 401 & Don Valley Parkway to Sheppard Avenue 4 Lanes Southbound (2 Express Lanes/2 Core Lanes), 2 HOV Lanes Southbound, 5 Lanes Northbound
Sheppard Avenue to Van Horne Avenue 4 Lanes Southbound, 5 Lanes Northbound, 1 continuous auxiliary exit/entry lane per direction, 1 HOV Lane southbound
Van Horne Avenue to Highway 407 4 Lanes per direction, 1 HOV Lane per Direction
Highway 407 to Highway 7 4 Lanes per direction, 1 HOV lane per Direction (Northbound HOV lane ends at Highway 7)
Highway 7 to Beaver Creek 4 Lanes per Direction (1 continuous auxiliary on/off lane southbound), 1 HOV lane Southbound (Southbound HOV Lane begins at Beaver Creek)

1 HOV lane Northbound currently under planning

Beaver Creek to 16th Avenue (York Road 73) 4 Lanes per Direction (1 continuous auxiliary on/off lane southbound)
1 HOV lane per direction currently under planning
16th Avenue (York Road 73) to Aurora Road (York Road 15) 3 Lanes per Direction
1 HOV lane per direction currently under planning
Aurora Road to Green Lane (York Road 19) 2 Lanes per Direction
1 HOV lane per direction currently under planning

Interchanges from south to north

Municipality Exit number Intersecting roads Notes
Toronto 17  Highway 401 and Don Valley Parkway Full Interchange
Toronto 18 Sheppard Avenue Full Interchange
Toronto 20 Finch Avenue Full Interchange
Toronto – Markham Boundary 22 Steeles Avenue /  York Regional Road 8 (Woodbine Avenue) Full interchange with Steeles, northbound exit and southbound entrance from Woodbine / Steeles
Markham 25 Highway407crest.png Highway 407 Full interchange
Markham – Richmond Hill Boundary 27  York Regional Road 7 ( Highway 7 (Former Highway 7)) Full Interchange
29  York Regional Road 73 (16th Avenue) Full Interchange
31  York Regional Road 25 (Major Mackenzie Road) Full Interchange
33 York Regional Road 49.svg Elgin Mills Road (York Road 49) Full Interchange
Richmond Hill – Whitchurch-Stouffville Boundary 37 York Regional Road 14.svg Stouffville Road (York Road 14) Full Interchange
Richmond Hill – Whitchurch-Stouffville – Aurora Boundary 41 York Regional Road 40.svg Bloomington Road (York Road 40) Full Interchange
Whitchurch-Stouffville – Aurora Boundary 45 York Regional Road 15.svg Aurora Road (York Road 15) Full Interchange
Whitchurch-Stouffville – Newmarket Boundary 49 York Regional Road 74.svg Vivian Road / Mulock Road (York Road 74) Southbound Partial Interchange
Whitchurch-Stouffville – Newmarket – East Gwillimbury Boundary 51 York Regional Road 31.svg Davis Drive (York Road 31) Full Interchange
East Gwillimbury 53 York Regional Road 19.svg Green Lane (York Road 19) Southbound Partial Interchange

Status of construction activity

  • Currently under construction:
Highway 404 North Extension - Mount Albert Road, Underpass, York Region
New bridge, target start: 2008, target completion:2010
  • Engineering and property acquisition phase
  • Future expansion, no current activity
  • Route planning and environmental assessment

Planned interchanges from south to north (exit numbers assumed)

Municipality Exit number Intersecting roads
East Gwillimbury 59 York Regional Road 77.svg Queensville Sideroad (York Road 77)
East Gwillimbury 60 Bradford Bypass (proposed freeway)
East Gwillimbury 65 York Regional Road 8.svg Woodbine Avenue (York Road 8) / York Regional Road 32.svg Ravenshoe Road (York Road 32)
Georgina 70 Pollock Road
Georgina 79 Ontario 48.png Highway 48 South
Georgina 91 York Regional Road 21.svg Pefferlaw Road (York Road 21)
Georgina – Brock Boundary 93 Lake Ridge Road (York Road 23 / Durham Road 23)

External links


  1. ^ Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, 2004 Annual Average Daily Traffic
  2. ^ a b (1957) Don Valley Parkway Extension, Highway 401 to Steeles Avenue . Desjardines. (Report).
  3. ^ Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (May 24, 2007). "Ontario’s High Occupancy Vehicle Lane Network: Summary of the Plan for the 400-Series Highways in the Greater Golden Horseshoe". http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/traveller/hov/summary2007.htm. Retrieved February 25, 2010. 
  4. ^ Ministry of Transportation of Ontario Traffic Volumes (AADT) (2006), retrieved on February 24, 2010.


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