Newsletter Highway 401

May 08 2017

Montreal, Qc. – May 5, 2017.

King’s Highway 401, commonly referred to as Highway 401 and also known by its official name as the Macdonald–Cartier Freeway, is a 400-series highway in the Canadian province of Ontario. It stretches 828.0 kilometres (514.5 mi) from Windsor in the west to the Ontario–Quebec border in the east. The part of Highway 401 that passes through Toronto is North America’s busiest highway, and one of the widest. Together with Quebec Autoroute 20, it forms the road transportation backbone of the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor, along which over half of Canada’s population resides and is also a Core Route in the National Highway System of Canada. The route is maintained by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) and patrolled by the Ontario Provincial Police. The speed limit is 100 km/h (62 mph) throughout its length, unless posted otherwise.

Greater Toronto Area

As Highway 401 approaches the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), it descends through the ecologically protected Niagara Escarpment to the west of Milton. Upon entering the town, it enters the first urbanized section of the GTA, passing through two rural areas between there and Oshawa. The first rural gap is the western side of Toronto’s Greenbelt, a zone around Toronto protected from development. After this 10 km (6.2 mi) gap, the highway interchanges with the Highway 407 Express Toll Route. Within the GTA, the highway passes several major shopping malls including Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Scarborough Town Centre and Pickering Town Centre.

Highway 401 between Highway 410 and Highway 403 in Mississauga

Highway 401 widens into a collector-express system as it approaches Hurontario Street in Mississauga. The system divides each direction of travel into collector and express lanes, giving the highway a wide span and four carriageways. To avoid confusion between carriageways, blue signs are used for the collector lanes and green signs for the express lanes.

Unlike the collector lanes, which provide access to every interchange, the express lanes only provide direct access to a select few interchanges. Access between the two is provided by transfers, which are strategically placed to prevent disruptions caused by closely spaced interchanges. The overall purpose of the collector-express system is to maximize traffic flow for both local and long-distance traffic.

Two sets of collector-express systems exist in the GTA. The first set is 6.6 km (4.1 mi) long and connects Highway 403, Highway 410 and Highway 427. This system primarily serves to accommodate and organize various traffic movements from the Highway 403 / 410 and Highway 427 interchanges along Highway 401, replacing an earlier plan that would have run Highway 403 directly to Eglinton Avenue and the never-built Richview Expressway. East of the interchange with Renforth Drive, the collector lanes diverge to become the on-ramps to Highway 427 northbound and southbound. The second 43.7 km (27.2 mi) system passes through the centre of Toronto and ends in Pickering to the east. The 5 km (3.1 mi) gap between the two systems is a traffic bottleneck. However, the interchange cannot currently accommodate future widening of Highway 401.

Highway 401 is often congested in and around GTA section, with an average of 442,900 vehicles passing between Weston Road and Highway 400 per day as of 2008.

In spite of this congestion, it is the primary commuting route in Toronto; over 50 percent of vehicles bound for downtown Toronto use the highway. The main traffic timing is between 7 AM and 9 AM and evening between 4 PM to 6 PM where all the office commuting traffic pass through 401 highway each weekday (Monday thru Friday) faces challenges commuting with Heavy Truck traffic takes major portion of two lines of total three lines.

We request Ministry of Transportation to control these Heavy Commercial Truck Traffic time restrictions to allow office commuters to each office/home safely each weekday.

Contact Information:
Toll Free: 1-844-342-5469
Office: 514-317-2745
Fax: 514-587-8192
Mon – Sat: 9:00 – 18:00