Ontario Highway 85
|Maintained by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario|
|Length||9.8 km (6.1 mi)|
|Existed||March 28, 1934–present|
|South end||Victoria Street North in Kitchener|
|North end||King Street interchange in Woolwich Township|
King's Highway 85, commonly referred to as Highway 85, is a provincially maintained highway in the Canadian province of Ontario, connecting Highway 7 to immediately north of the Waterloo city limits. The 10-kilometre (6.2 mi) highway, which is mostly controlled-access, travels through the Regional Municipality of Waterloo along the Conestoga Parkway from its interchange with Highway 7, which continues south along the parkway, to an interchange with Regional Road 15 (King Street), where it continues as Regional Road 85 to St. Jacobs.
Prior to completion of the Conestoga Parkway through Waterloo, Highway 85 followed King Street north of Ottawa Street through Kitchener and Waterloo. Within the City of Waterloo, this former alignment is now maintained by the region as Regional Road 15. Within the city of Kitchener, the road is simply known as King Street. The parkway was constructed between 1968 and 1977. By 1980, Highway 85 was renumbered as Highway 86, to improve the continuity of provincial route numbers. However, when the majority of Highway 86 was decommissioned in 1998, the remaining portion was soon renumbered as Highway 85 in 2003.
Highway 85 begins in Kitchener at an interchange between the Conestoga Parkway and Victoria Street. At that interchange, Highway 7 exits the parkway, which from there northward on is Highway 85, and travels east on Victoria Street towards Guelph. The divided freeway continues north, swerving left and right through suburban Kitchener. It first crosses under a Via Rail line and then under Wellington Street, with which it has an interchange, after which it passes alongside the Grand River. As it enters the neighbourhood of Bridgeport, which it divides in two, the route curves west, interchanges with Lancaster Street and crosses into Waterloo.
The highway begins to curve north, interchanging with Bridgeport Road. The highway crosses the Conestoga Creek as it interchanges with University Avenue, then gradually curves to the west. After an interchange with King Street, once the original routing of Highway 85, the route curves back to the north and interchanges with Northfield Drive. As it approaches the rural–urban fringe of the tri-city area, the freeway interchanges with King Street a second time. Highway 85 ends at the north end of the ramps from King Street, as does the Conestoga Parkway. The divided freeway ends and the route become Waterloo Regional Road 85, which continues north to St. Jacobs and Elmira.
Highway 85 was originally assumed by the Department of Highways (DHO), the predecessor to today's Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO), during the mid-1930s. The existing Kitchener–Elmira Road was designated as Highway 85 on March 28, 1934. Initially, the route began at the intersection of Queen Street and King Street in downtown Kitchener, and proceeded north along King Street through Waterloo and St. Jacobs. North of St. Jacobs, the highway followed the same route as modern Waterloo Regional Road 85 to Elmira, ending at Church Street in downtown Elmira. Church Street itself would become Highway 86 several years later, on August 25, 1937, connecting Elmira and Amberley, and creating a short-lived common terminus between the two highways; Highway 86 was extended to Highway 7 near Guelph on April 13, 1938.
Highway 85 remained unchanged for several decades until the Conestoga Parkway was constructed during the late-1960s and early 1970s. Construction of the new expressway began in February 1965 near King Street in Kitchener; however, construction of the section that is now Highway 85 did not begin until September 1968, when a C$5 million contract for the section between Frederick Street and Bridgeport Road was awarded. Soon thereafter, a second contract for the section between Bridgeport Road and King Street in Waterloo was awarded.
On April 16, 1970, the Highway 85 designation was moved from King Street to the new Conestoga Parkway; King Street was consequently transferred to local jurisdiction. Towards the end of the 1970s, construction began on a northward extension of the Conestoga Parkway from King Street to Northfield Drive; this was completed by 1977. By then, construction was underway on a two lane bypass of St. Jacobs east of the original route, connecting with the Conestoga Parkway at Northfield Drive, then an at-grade intersection. By the end of 1977, this bypass was completed.
In 1975, the eastern section of Highway 86, from Elmira to Guelph, was decommissioned, truncating the eastern terminus of it to the western terminus of Highway 85. To provide a more direct routing between the two highways, a bypass of Elmira was constructed along what is now Listowel Road. By the end of 1979, Highway 86 was rerouted along this bypass, and the northern section of Highway 85 was decommissioned. In 1980 or 1981, Highway 85 was renumbered as Highway 86, eliminating the designation temporarily and creating one continuous highway between Kitchener and Amberley, on the shores of Lake Huron.
On November 30, 1990, the Northfield Drive interchange was fully opened to traffic, eliminating a traffic signal from the northern end of the Conestoga Parkway. The speed limit on the parkway was lowered from 100 km/h (62 mph) to 90 km/h (56 mph) on January 10, 1994 following numerous cross-median collisions. In 1998, during the mass downloading of provincial highways to lower levels of government, the majority of Highway 86, from the Northfield Drive interchange to Amberley, was decommissioned. The Regional Municipality of Waterloo subsequently designated the section north from Waterloo to Elmira as Regional Road 85. Consequently, the remaining section of Highway 86, which exclusively followed the Conestoga Parkway, was renumbered as Highway 85 during the spring of 2003 to align the numbers and aid navigation.
|Kitchener||0.0||0.0||Highway 7 east (Victoria Street) – Guelph, Toronto|
|Waterloo||2.7||1.7||Regional Road 9 (Bridgeport Road)|
|4.2||2.6||Regional Road 57 (University Avenue)|
|6.6||4.1||Regional Road 15 (King Street)|
|7.9||4.9||Regional Road 50 (Northfield Drive)|
|9.5||5.9||Regional Road 15 (King Street)||Highway 85 ends 350 m (1,150 ft) north of King Street interchange|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|
- "Appendix 4 - Schedule of Assumptions and Reversions of Sections". Annual Report (Report). Department of Highways. March 31, 1935. p. 120.
- Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (2008). "Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) counts". Retrieved December 21, 2011.
- Ontario Back Road Atlas (Map). Cartography by MapArt. Peter Heiler. 2010. p. 22. § M22–N23. ISBN 978-1-55198-226-7.
- Ontario Road Map (Map). Cartography by C.P. Robins. Ontario Department of Highways. 1938–39. § J8–K9 and Kitchener inset.
- "Appendix 3 - Schedule of Assumptions and Reversions of Sections". Annual Report (Report). Department of Highways. March 31, 1938. p. 81.
- "Appendix 3 - Schedule of Assumptions and Reversions of Sections". Annual Report (Report). Department of Highways. March 31, 1938. p. 84.
- A.T.C. McNab (1966). "Proceedings of the... Convention". Canadian Good Roads Association: 73.
- Parkway was originally to be built as a ring road; Christian Aagaard. The Record. Kitchener, Ont.: Mar 1, 1999. pg. B.1
- A.T.C. McNab (1968). "Proceedings of the... Convention". Canadian Good Roads Association: 73.
- "Appendix 16 - Schedule of Designations and Re-Designations of Sections". Annual Report (Report). Department of Highways. March 31, 1971. p. 152.
- Ontario Road Map (Map). Cartography by Photogrammetry Division. Department of Transportation and Communications. 1971. Kitchener inset.
- Ontario Road Map (Map). Cartography by Cartography Section. Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1977. South-Central Ontario inset.
- Ontario Road Map (Map). Cartography by Cartography Section. Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1978/79. South-Central Ontario inset. Check date values in:
- Ontario Road Map (Map). Cartography by Cartography Section. Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1974. § L20–21.
- Ontario Road Map (Map). Cartography by Cartography Section. Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1980/81. South-Central Ontario inset. Check date values in:
- Ontario Road Map (Map). Cartography by Cartography Section. Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1982/83. South-Central Ontario inset. Check date values in:
- Northfield overpass and ramps to open; Kitchener - Waterloo Record. Kitchener, Ont.: Nov 30, 1990. pg. B.1
- Conestoga Parkway leniency period over; Kitchener - Waterloo Record. Kitchener, Ont.: Feb 10, 1994. pg. B.1
- Highway Transfers List - "Who Does What" (Report). Ministry of Transportation of Ontario. June 20, 2001. pp. 3–4, 7, 11, 15.
- Highway 86 on Parkway to be Changed to 86
- Ministry of Transportation (February 11, 2002). "Ontario government improves provincial highway numbering". Newswire. Archived from the original on August 4, 2002. Retrieved January 10, 2012.
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