Ontario Highway 409

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Highway 409

Belfield Expressway
Route information
Maintained by
Ministry of Transportation of Ontario
Greater Toronto Airports Authority
Length5.6 km[1][2] (3.5 mi)
ExistedAugust 25, 1978[3]–present
Major junctions
West end Pearson Airport
Major intersections Highway 427
East end Highway 401Toronto
Highway system
Highway 407 Highway 410

King's Highway 409, commonly referred to as Highway 409 and historically as the Belfield Expressway, is a 400-series highway in the Canadian province of Ontario that extends from Highway 401 in Toronto to Pearson International Airport, west of Highway 427, in Mississauga. It is a short freeway used mainly as a spur route for traffic travelling to the airport or Highway 427 northbound from Highway 401 westbound (and vice versa), as these route movements are not accommodated at the complex interchange between Highways 401 and 427.

Planning for Highway 409 took place in the late 1960s amidst considerable controversy around its originally proposed path through the historic town of Malton. Eventually, the route was changed to provide access to the airport instead of northward towards Brampton and was completed through the mid-1970s, opening in 1978. The significance of the route has increased over the years alongside expansion of the airport. In 2000, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) purchased the section of the highway west of Highway 427 in order to modify the ramps leading into the airport.

The speed limit along Highway 409 is 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) east of Highway 427 and 80 km/h (50 mph) west of it. It is patrolled by the Ontario Provincial Police east of the Toronto–Peel boundary and by the Peel Regional Police to the west of it. The original name of the freeway was derived from Belfield Road, which runs parallel to and north of the highway in Toronto from Kipling Avenue to Atwell Drive.

Route description

Looking east on the 409 approaching the interchange with Martin Grove Road, after the 2009-10 reconstruction

Highway 409 serves as a direct link between Highway 401, Highway 427, and Pearson International Airport. While it is not intended as a commuter route, there are three exits serving industrial areas in Etobicoke centred on the highway. Highway 409 also serves as the only connection between westbound Highway 401 and northbound Highway 427 and between southbound Highway 427 and eastbound Highway 401, as access between these routes is not provided at the 401–427 interchange.[2]

Highway 409 begins at Airport Road as the knotted flyovers from Pearson International Airport converge into the freeway from the various terminals.[2] The highway then turns northeast and encounters Highway 427. Through this section to Highway 427, the highway is maintained by the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) and has a posted speed limit of 60 kilometers per hour (37 mph).[4][5]

The flyover from Highway 427 to Highway 409 was constructed in 1992, replacing an at-grade signalized intersection.

As the highway passes under Highway 427, it turns southeast and takes on an east–west orientation. It passes over Carlingview Drive, and begins to descend into a trench, passing beneath Highway 27, two CN railway spurs, and Iron Street before returning to level grade. Around the interchange with Martin Grove Road, the freeway twists slightly to the north and south between factories and warehouses.[6]

At its eastern terminus, the eastbound Highway 409 crosses Kipling Avenue and two of its lanes merge onto each of the Highway 401 express and collector lanes. From Highway 401 westbound, two westbound collector lanes diverge and become the westbound lanes of Highway 409, while the remaining three westbound collector lanes join up with the westbound Highway 401 express lanes to form six lanes west of there. Highway 409 is also accessible from Highway 401 westbound express lanes.[2]


Plans for Highway 409, originally known as the Belfield Expressway, were first presented in 1965 to the Peel County (now Peel Region) council. In September 1968, three possible routes were submitted to the council. At the time, the town of Malton, within Peel County, occupied the area of the planned expressway, having not yet been amalgamated with municipalities within Peel County to the south to create the City of Mississauga. The 45-meter-wide (148 ft) strip of land would require the expropriation and demolition of 50 houses, as well as several businesses, a school, and two community parks. Citizens of the village formed a group to protest the freeway and to demand another route be taken. An above-grade alternative, similar to the Gardiner Expressway was proposed, as well as a tunnel under the airport.[7]

Aerial photo showing at-grade signalized intersection from 427 southbound to 409 eastbound.

However, at the same time, Toronto was embroiled in heated debate over the fate of its planned urban expressway system. When the Spadina Expressway was cancelled in 1971, the planned Belfield Expressway was completely revised. Instead of continuing northwest from Highway 427 and through Malton's four-corners at Derry Road and Airport Road towards Brampton, it would curve southwest and provide access to the developing Toronto International Airport.[8]

Before plans for the new route were finalized, a flyover was built to provide access from Belfield Road to eastbound Highway 401, opening on October 7, 1968.[9] Because the lands on which the freeway was to be built were occupied, the province elected to apply to expropriate the right-of-way in April 1972.[10] Construction was underway by the end of the year, with the first contracts constructing the trench section near Highway 27. Structures, drainage and grading were completed west of Iron Street to Carlingview Avenue in 1974. In June of that year, contracts were awarded for the same work east of Iron Street to Highway 401. When this was completed in 1975, a paving contract was awarded from Carlingview Avenue to Highway 401.[11]

Highway 409 first opened to traffic by 1976, with temporary ramps at Carlingview Avenue acting as the western terminus. That year the final contracts were awarded to construct portions of the Highway 427 interchange and connect Highway 409 with the airport road system.[12] The entire freeway opened on August 25, 1978.[3]

The at-grade signalized intersection of the Highway 427-409 junction in 1989

The flyover ramp, which connects southbound Highway 427 with eastbound Highway 409 was constructed in the early 1990s. Prior to that, an at-grade intersection crossed the northbound lanes of Highway 427, controlled by a traffic signal. This signal had the longest cycle of any traffic light in Toronto during its years of operation.[13]

The portion of Highway 409 west of Highway 427 is owned and operated by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA). Despite its private ownership, the section east of Airport Road is still considered a part of Highway 409.[1] The GTAA purchased this section of the highway in 2000 in order to rebuild the approaches to Toronto Pearson Airport.[4]

Highway 409 westbound approaching Highway 27 overpass in 2007, prior to 2008 reconstruction.

Until 2008, Highway 409 remained almost unchanged from its original construction. However, beginning on July 10, 2008, traffic access was restricted to the outermost lanes. The steel "W" guardrail and truss light posts in the median were replaced by an Ontario Tall Wall barrier with a high-mast lighting system. Construction was carried out over several years and was scheduled for completion on September 1, 2011.[14]

Highway 409's western terminus at Pearson Airport as viewed from Network Road, with the Highway 427 interchange in the background.

Exit list

The following table lists the major junctions along Highway 409, as noted by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.[1][2] 

PeelMississauga Toronto Pearson International AirportWestbound exit and eastbound entrance; no access to Viscount Road from Terminal 1 arrivals level or Terminal 3
0.00.0Peel Regional Road 7.svg Regional Road 7 (Airport Road)No eastbound exit; no access to Terminal 1 from westbound entrance; no access to Viscount Road and Network Road from eastbound entrance
Viscount RoadNo westbound entrance; no access to Network Road
Network RoadEastbound exit and westbound entrance; no access to Viscount Road, Airport Road
1.42.3 Highway 427, Viscount Road, Airport RoadNo westbound entrance from northbound 427
2.64.2Attwell DriveEastbound exit and westbound entrance
4.16.6Martin Grove Road
5.28.4Belfield Road, Kipling AvenueWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
5.69.0 Highway 401 eastEastbound exit and westbound entrance; Highway 409 merges onto Highway 401 eastbound while two of Highway 401 westbound collector lanes diverge to form the Highway 409's westbound lanes
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b c Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (2008). "Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) counts". Government of Ontario. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved December 10, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e Google (September 7, 2014). "Highway 409 length and route" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "New Shortcut Will Let Some 'Fly' to Airport". Metro News. The Toronto Star. August 19, 1978. p. A6. Highway 409, a new shortcut to Toronto International Airport, opens next Friday
  4. ^ a b Mitchell, Bob (February 10, 2000). "Airport buys highway to create new gateway ; $280 million will be spent on better road access". News. Toronto Star. Torstar Corp. p. 1. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
  5. ^ Google (September 7, 2014). "Streetview: Speed limit drop to 60 km/h immediately west of Highway 427" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  6. ^ Golden Horseshoe (Map). Cartography by MapArt. Peter Heiler Ltd. 2011. pp. 107. § G2–H7. ISBN 978-1-55198-213-7.
  7. ^ Hicks, Kathleen A. (2006). "Road Controversy - 1968". Malton: Farms to Flying (PDF). Friends of the Mississauga Library System. pp. 208–209. ISBN 0-9697873-9-1. Retrieved April 4, 2010.
  8. ^ "New Terminal Expected to Ease Jams". News. The Toronto Star. June 9, 1972. p. 4.
  9. ^ Information Section (October 3, 1968). "Belfield Expressway Ramps Will be Open for Traffic" (Press release). Department of Highways.
  10. ^ "New Shortcut Will Let Some 'Fly' to Airport". Metro News. The Toronto Star. August 19, 1978. p. A6.
  11. ^ Construction Program: King's and Secondary Highways (Report). Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1976–77. p. xvii.
  12. ^ Construction Program: King's and Secondary Highways (Report). Ministry of Transportation and Communications. 1976–77. p. XIV.
  13. ^ Gamester, George (June 22, 1981). "The Speed of Light". Metro. The Toronto Star. p. A3.
  14. ^ Ministry of Transportation of Ontario. "Contract 2008-2004". Government of Ontario. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved October 28, 2011.

External links