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The King's Highway 427 is a 400-Series Highway in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontariomarker, Canada, that runs from immediately south of the Queen Elizabeth Way/Gardiner Expressway interchange (its exact southern terminus is on Browns Line at Coules Court, just south of Evans Avenue) in Torontomarker to Highway 7 in Vaughan. An arterial extension continues 800 meters north of Highway 7 to Zenway Boulevard, but this is not yet officially part of Highway 427. This arterial extension is the first step in a proposal that will take the 427 into the Barrie area. It is 22.1 kilometres in length, including the extension to Zenway Boulevard.

Highway 427 is Ontario's second busiest freeway by volume and one of the busiest in North America, and has no fewer than 12 lanes between the QEW/Gardiner and Highway 401, divided into a collector-express system similar to that of Highway 401. Notable about Highway 427 are its several multi-level interchanges; the junctions with QEW and Highway 401 were Ontario's first 4-level interchanges constructed in the late 1960s and early 1970s while the interchanges with Highway 409 and Highway 407 are more recent and were completed in 1992 and 1995.

It is a primary feeder route into Toronto Pearson International Airportmarker. Much of the traffic coming from Highway 407, Highway 401 (eastbound), and the QEW/Gardiner uses Highway 427 for airport access, but it also serves the western portion of Etobicokemarker (Rexdalemarker) and the northeastern portion of Mississaugamarker (Maltonmarker). It is also used as a bypass of the QEW for traffic originating from downtown Toronto headed towards the western suburbs, via Highway 401's collector lanes that provide a direct link between Highway 427 and Highway 403/Highway 410. Eastbound commuters on the QEW who want to bypass Downtown Torontomarker use Highway 427 to reach Highway 401.


Highway 427 directly north of the Highway 401/27/Eglinton mega-interchange.
Initially built in 1964 as the Airport Expressway, this was widened in the late 1990s.

Highway 427 was inaugurated in 1972 and incorporated two existing routes; the freeway portion of Highway 27 between the QEW and Highway 401 (the initial 401 and Highway 27 was the Toronto Bypass in the 1950s), and the Airport Expressway (that section of 427 is still known by the name since it opened in 1964) between the 401 and Toronto Pearson International Airportmarker since the construction of the former Terminal 1 in the 1960s.

Since 1972, there has been no direct access from Highway 401 westbound to Highway 427 northbound and vice versa; that link is provided by Highway 409 instead. The Carlingview Drive was added into the interchange to serve local needs. The complicated 401-427 interchange also includes high-speed ramps between from Eglinton Avenuemarker westbound to Highway 401 westbound, Highway 427, and Highway 27; those freeway-to-freeway connectors (which seem excessive even for an arterial road like Eglinton) were meant for the abandoned Richview Expressway project which was proposed to run eastward from that interchange, parallel to Eglinton. Plans to have Highway 403 run directly to the 401-427 interchange were scrapped and it was replaced by a collector-express setup on Highway 401 from 403's eventual eastern terminus (401-403-410 interchange) to 427.

In 1980, Highway 427 was initially extended to provincial Highway 50 (Albion Road), along the Clairville Reservoir. This was later abandoned in favour of a new routing, which incorporated a new interchange with the future Highway 407. The Morning Star Drive at-grade access and the at-grade intersection with the ramp to eastbound Highway 409 were removed, to be replaced with an overpass and flyover ramp, respectively, making Highway 427 a fully controlled access freeway. By the mid-1990s the northern stretch from Highway 401 to Highway 7 was completed, replacing the former secondary route known as Indian Line, which also served as the Toronto/Peel boundary.

Highway 427 is one of the few exposed concrete surfaced roads in Ontario, for the segment between the QEW and 401, and it has exceeded its intended 30-year lifespan. From the QEW north to just before the Highway 401 interchange, the pavement in the original express right lanes is un-grooved concrete, while the passing lane adjacent to the median is a grooved surface as it is newer pavement. This is very noticeable to drivers, as the grooving (tining) makes a unique noise on the tires, which is uncommon in Ontario, but very common with concrete driving surfaces in the USA.

Collector-express setup

Highway 427's collector-express system runs between 401 and the QEW.

As Highway 427 lies between Mississauga and Etobicoke, with two different road grid plans, there is no major arterial running parallel to the freeway. There used to be service roads running parallel to Highway 427's routing, when it was previously known as Highway 27. These were replaced when Highway 27 was reconstructed to a collector-express system and renamed Highway 427. To compensate for the removed service roads, the collector lanes have numerous RIRO onramps and offramps to serve residential traffic. The ramps connect to the two minor arterials, The West Mallmarker and The East Mall, that run north-south parallel to Highway 427 from Eglinton Avenuemarker to Evans Avenue (The West Mall Way's northern terminus is at Rathburn Road and one can continue to Eglinton via Renforth Drive). These RIRO ramps supplement the freeway's standard Parclo interchanges with several major east-west arterials. The collector-express system is also needed, due to the relative proximity of the junctions with Dundas Street, Burnhamthorpe Road, and Rathburn Road.

Highway 427 at the interchange with Burnhamthorpe Road; note the eight lane overpass.

Unlike Highway 401 whose main collector-express system is also designed to increase the overall capacity of the road, Highway 427's collector-express system merely separates two streams of traffic, squeezing two parallel freeways into one corridor. The express lanes connect the QEW/Gardiner with Highway 401 and exclusively lead to freeway-to-freeway ramps, while the collector lanes link up Highway 27 with Browns Line and have interchanges with local traffic. By contrast, on Highway 401, the collectors enjoy equal access to intersecting freeways as the express lanes do, so their use is not restricted to local traffic (it is often common for the MTO to close off either the express or collector lanes for night maintenance on Highway 401, but not Highway 427).

Highway 427 between QEW and Dundas Street (Formerly Highway 5), showing the 14-lane cross-section.

There are transfers between express and collector lanes; however 401/Airport to QEW/Gardiner traffic has grown far heavier, making the express lanes congested while the collectors are underused. A good example of this jam occurs on Highway 427 southbound at the collector-to-express transfermarker near Bloor Street, where the majority of commuters need to get to the express lanes in order to reach the QEW/Gardiner. There is little utility for the collectors south of that transfer since only a minority of motorists are headed for local traffic (The Queensway, Evans Avenue, Browns Line). Recent 427-QEW interchange improvements in 2001-2002 allowed southbound traffic in the collector lanes to access the Gardiner Expressway via a newly constructed loop ramp.

Recent developments

From summer 2004-2005, an "Ontario" tall-wall concrete median barrier, incorporating high-mast lighting, was installed in the segment between Highway 401 and the QEW, after complaints that the existing steel "W" guardrail (in use since 1972) was insufficient to stop traffic from crossing over to the opposing lanes, considering the high volumes. Though the original truss light poles (initially fitted with mercury, later replaced with high-pressure sodium in the 1990s), are no longer in use, they have not been removed as of June 2007.

There is talk of expanding this route farther north from Vaughan via Bramptonmarker and Boltonmarker to at least Highway 89, and possibly as far north as Barriemarker, as a parallel bypass of the existing Highway 400 whose traffic levels are expected to outstrip expansion capacity in the next 20 years.

Peelmarker and Yorkmarker Regions initiated construction of a short arterial extension of Highway 427, currently terminating the road at the intersection with Zenway Blvd., giving the 427 direct access to Highway 50. The highway is currently designated as York Regional Road 99 from Highway 7 to Zenway Boulevard. The arterial extension will be incorporated into the future routing of a more extensive Highway 427 extension.

Volume information (2005)

  • Highest Volume: 311,400 AADT from Burnhamthorpe Road to Rathburn Road
  • Lowest Volume: 44,700 AADT from Coules Court to QEW

Lane configurations from south to north

Section Travel Lanes
Evans Avenue to Queen Elizabeth Way/Gardiner Expressway 2 lanes in each direction
Queen Elizabeth Way/Gardiner Expressway to Dundas Street 7 lanes in each direction (4 express, 3 local)
Dundas Street to Burnhamthorpe Road 6 lanes in each direction (3 express, 3 local)
Burnhamthorpe Road to Highway 401 7 lanes in each direction (4 express, 3 local)
Highway 401 to Dixon Road/Airport Road/Toronto Pearson International Airportmarker 5 lanes in each direction
Dixon Road/Airport Road/Toronto Pearson International Airportmarker to Highway 409 3 lanes in each direction
Highway 409/Toronto Pearson International Airportmarker to Rexdale Boulevard/Derry Road 3 lanes Northbound (1 Continus Auxiliary on/off lane), 4 Lanes Southbound
1 HOV lane per direction currently under planning
Rexdale Boulevard/Derry Road to Finch Avenue 3 Lanes Southbound, 2 Lanes Northbound
1 HOV lane per direction currently under planning
Finch Avenue to Highway 407 3 lanes Northbound, 4 Lanes Southbound (1 Continus Auxiliary on/off lane)
1 HOV lane per direction currently under planning
Highway 407 to Zenway Boulevard 2 Lanes Southbound, 3 Lanes Northbound

Exit list

Looking north up Highway 427 from Burnhamthorpe Road.
Location Destinations Notes
Torontomarker Brown's Line At-grade continuation of Highway 427.
Evans Avenue No access to Gardiner Expressway from northbound entrance.
Southbound exit and northbound entrance. Other movements are directed to use Evans Avenue.
Gardiner Expressway
Sherway Gardens Road, The Queensway No northbound exit. No access to QEW from southbound entrance.
Dundas Streetmarker Former Highway 5. Northbound express uses separate ramp that leads to The East Mall. No access to QEW from southbound entrance.
Gibbs Road Northbound entrance only.
Valhalla Road Northbound exit only.
Eva Road Southbound exit and entrance
Burnhamthorpe Road
Holiday Drive Southbound exit only.
Rathburn Road Northbound exit and southbound entrance.
Eringate Drive Southbound entrance only. Southbound exit accessible only from Highway 27 and Eglinton Avenuemarker.
Eglinton Avenuemarker No access to Highway 401 east from northbound entrance.
Northbound exit and southbound entrance.
Northbound exit and southbound entrance.
Torontomarker, Mississaugamarker Dixon Road and Toronto Pearson International Airportmarker Northbound exit and southbound entrance.
Fasken Drive Northbound exit only.
Toronto Pearson International Airportmarker No northbound exit.
RR 5
Finch Avenue
Northbound exit and southbound entrance. North of this point, Highway 427 is known as RR 99.
Zenway Boulevard At-grade intersection (as RR 99).

Status of construction activity

  • Currently under construction: Flattening surfaces north of Zenway Blvd.

  • Engineering and property acquisition phase:

  • Route planning and environmental assessment:

  • Future expansion, no current activity:

Proposed interchanges from south to north (exit numbers assumed)

A Highway 427 trailblazer at the West Mall and Eva Road.
Municipality Kilometre Post* Intersecting Roads
Vaughan 24 Langstaff Roadmarker (York Regional Road 72)
Vaughan 26 Rutherford Road (York Regional Road 73)
Vaughan 28 Major Mackenzie Drive (York Regional Road 25)
Vaughan 33 Kirby Sideroad
Kingmarker 37 King Road (York Regional Road 11)
King 43 17th Sideroad
King - New Tecumseth Boundary 50 Highway 9
New Tecumseth 56 New Tecumseth 5th Line
New Tecumseth 60 New Tecumseth 8th Line (Simcoe County Road 1)
New Tecumseth 63 Bradford Bypass (proposed freeway)

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