Highway 8 (Ontario): Wikis


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Ontario 8.png
Highway 8
Maintained by the Ministry of Transportation
Length: 138.5 km[1] (86.1 mi)
Formed: 1920
West end: Hwy 21 in Goderich
Hwy 7 in Stratford
Hwy 401 in Cambridge
East end: Hwy 5 near Dundas
Major cities: Goderich, Clinton, Stratford, Kitchener, Cambridge, Hamilton
Ontario provincial highways
< Hwy 7 Hwy 9 >
400-series - County

Highway 8 is a King's Highway in the Canadian province of Ontario. Its total length is 138.5 km.



Highway 8 is one of the oldest provincial highways in Ontario, having first been established in 1918. Up until the early 1970s, the highway was much longer than its current length, extending from Goderich through Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, and Hamilton to Niagara Falls. However, in 1970, the Government of Ontario decided that the stretch of Highway 8 between Winona (just east of Hamilton) and Niagara Falls was no longer of major transportation significance, since by this time most traffic used the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), just to the north, to go between the two locales. Accordingly, the province downloaded this section of the highway to the newly-formed Regional Municipality of Niagara, which designated the road as Regional Road 81. In 1998, the provincial government of Mike Harris carried another downloading of the highway to municipal authorities; this time the section between the town of Peters Corners (near Dundas) and Winona was transferred to the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth.[2]



Conestoga Parkway

Highway 8 begins at its western terminus in downtown Goderich, at the junction with Highway 21. It travels eastward as a normal city road, running through Stratford (where it begins overlapping with Highway 7). At New Hamburg, the combined Highway 7/8 becomes a 4-lane controlled-access highway, becoming a freeway just west of Baden, and continues into Kitchener (where the 7/8 freeway is known as the Conestoga Parkway).

Freeport Diversion

As the Conestoga Parkway runs through Kitchener, Highways 7 and 8 split off from one another, with Highway 8 turning southeastward via an interchange. The interchange between Highway 8 and the Conestoga Parkway was opened in 1970. Mainline traffic on Highway 8 heading northwest could continue under the Conestoga, where the route defaults to King Street, to enter downtown Kitchener. The Conestoga east/north of this junction serves as a bypass of King Street.

King Street north of the half-clo intersection with the Conestoga Parkway and Highway 8, looking south in Kitchener. King Street traffic, however, has no direct access to the Conestoga.

Highway 8 continues along as four-lane freeway, which is also known as the Freeport Diversion or King Street Bypass, until another junction with King Street East. From that point, Highway 8 continues on King Street. Originally, the Freeport Diversion ended at King Street, with an at-grade Y-junction. Traffic from the Freeport Diversion was treated as the mainline traffic at that interchange. In 1987, the Freeport Diversion was extended to provide a freeway link to Highway 401, free of interruptions. However, as the Highway 8 designation continues along King Street East, the portion of the Freeport Diversion between Highway 8 and Highway 401 is numbered Highway 7187; however, this designation is not public. The cloverleaf interchange between Highway 401 and the existing Highway 8 had several ramps realigned to allow connections with the Freeport Diversion (Highway 7187), and it continues to serve 401 traffic west of that junction.

Recent Improvements

Highway 8 with the interchange with the Conestoga Parkway seen in the distance. The new concrete median barrier and retaining wall on the right side were part of a multiyear project to improve the capacity of the junction. Photographed from the Franklin Street overpass.

In 2004, extensive improvements were completed around the former obsolete and bottlenecked "half-cloverleaf" interchange of the Conestoga and Highway 8. This included a new flyover semi-directional ramp from Conestoga westbound to Highway 8 eastbound, while the ramp in the opposite direction was realigned to allow it to carry two lanes of traffic at a higher speed.

In 2002-2004 Highway 8 freeway was widened from four to eight lanes from the interchange to just east of Franklin Street, which necessitated moving one retaining wall and a new overpass with Franklin Street. Since 2006, work has been underway to widen the freeway to eight lanes, including the Fairway Road interchange.


Freeport Diversion and King Street Bypass
Destinations Notes
King Street - Downtown Kitchener Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
Hwy 7 west / Hwy 8 west – Stratford Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
Hwy 7 east to Hwy 85Guelph, Waterloo Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
Weber Street, Fairway Road
RR 8 to Hwy 401 west – Cambridge, London Eastbound exit and westbound entrance; former Hwy 8
RR 38 (Sportsworld Drive, Maple Grove Road)
Hwy 401 east – Toronto Eastbound exit and westbound entrance

Cambridge and Hamilton

Highway 8 then enters Cambridge, following city streets such as Shantz Hill Road, Fountain Street, King Street, Coronation Boulevard, and Dundas Street. It then continues as a normal road out of Cambridge and into Hamilton, meeting with Highway 5 in the town of Peters Corners.

Beyond this point, the road is no longer technically a King's Highway, and is officially designated as Hamilton Road 8, though numerous road signs and local custom still refer to it as Highway 8. From Peter's Corners, Highway 8 continues through West Flamborough before turning south to descend the Niagara Escarpment into Dundas. In Dundas, Highway 8 follows King Street East, then turns south onto Main Street. Main Street changes names at Governor's Road to become Osler Drive. Once Highway 8 crosses the boundary into Hamilton proper, the road resumes the name Main Street.

Highway 8 continues as Main Street through the Westdale neighbourhood of Hamilton, passing McMaster University, until it reaches Paradise Road just west of Highway 403. At this point Highway 8 splits into two roads as it passes through the Hamilton downtown core. Highway 8 eastbound follows Main Street, which becomes a multilane one-way street from Paradise Road until its eventual intersection with King Street near Kensington Avenue in East Hamilton. Highway 8 westbound follows King Street, which is also a multilane one-way street between Kensington Avenue and Paradise Road, and then briefly follows Paradise Road itself to reconnect with Main Street. East of the intersection of King Street and Main Street, the two directions of Highway 8 merge together, and the highway continues to follow Main Street.

At the meeting of Main St. with Queenston Road, Highway 8 leaves Main Street and follows Queenston Road to continue its eastbound journey. East of Gray Road the designation of Queenston Road is dropped. Thereafter the road is simply named Highway 8 until reaching Winona, where it becomes Niagara Regional Road 81.

Control Cities


External links


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