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King's Highway 420, the Rainbow Bridge and Niagara Falls

The final leg in my trip through Ontario this past April was on King's Highway 420 to Niagara Falls.



KH 420 is a short 3.3 Kilometer/2.1 Mile Freeway located completely in Niagara Falls.  KH 420 has a western terminus at Queen Elizabeth Way and an eastern terminus at Regional Road 102/Falls Avenue.  The route of KH 420 continues as a Regional Road of the same number to the Rainbow Bridge and the American Border on Falls Avenue..  Presently KH 420 is the shortest 400 series freeway in Ontario.

The route of KH 420 was part of the original 1941 alignment of Queen Elizabeth Way which was routed through Niagara Falls.  The Rainbow Bridge over the Niagara River was a replacement span which began construction in May of 1940 and ended eighteen months later.  The Rainbow Bridge was a replacement for earlier the Honeymoon Bridge which fell into the Niagara River in 1938.  In 1972 KH 420 was designated over what was Queen Elizabeth Way after freeway upgrades were made.  The 1955 Ontario Highway map below shows Queen Elizabeth Way in it's original configuration.

1955 Ontario Highway Map 

My approach to KH 420 was from Queen Elizabeth Way eastbound.



KH 420 eastbound is signed at 80KMPH.


KH 420 continues to Regional Road 102 at Stanley Avenue.  The highway continues eastbound towards the Rainbow Bridge as Regional Road 420 on Falls Avenue.





Rainbow Bridge traffic to the United States is directed to use the left lane of Falls Avenue.  Traffic to Niagara Falls is directed to stay in the right lane.



I took the alternate route to Niagara Falls via Victoria Avenue and Bender Street.





From the merge point of Bender Street and Falls Avenue the border crossing on the western flank of the Rainbow Bridge can be seen.



Signage along Falls Avenue directs traffic towards either the Rainbow Bridge or Niagara Falls.


Falls Avenue terminus at Niagara Parkway headed southbound on the western flank of Niagara Falls.



I parked in Queen Victoria Park above Horseshoe Falls.  Queen Victoria Park was commissioned in 1885 and opened in 1888.


Horseshoe Falls is the largest of three falls at Niagara Falls.  Horseshoe Falls is 165 feet high but has a massive width of 2,700 feet.


The visitor center in Queen Victoria Park is located in the Table Rock House.  The north building of the Table Rock Center opened in 1926 followed by the south building opening in 1974.



The "Scenic Tunnels" (known now as the Journey Behind the Falls) is located in the Table Rock Center.




The Scenic Tunnels include several historical information placards.  The one below details the 1938 collapse of the Honeymoon Bridge.  The Honeymoon Bridge was constructed in 1897 and opened in 1898.  The Honeymoon Bridge was a replacement for the Niagara Clifton Bridge which had been destroyed in 1889.  The Honeymoon Bridge was officially known as the Upper Steel Arch Bridge and was built according to the namesake design.  The Honeymoon Bridge was built with a fatal flaw in that ice tended to accumulate around it's abutments and had to be constantly maintained in winter months.  In January of 1938 when a wind storm sent about 100 feet of ice into the abutments which collapsed the Honeymoon Bridge into the Niagara River as a single piece.


Surprisingly going over Niagara Falls seems to be somewhat survivable.


The longest Scenic Tunnel extends 151 feet behind Horseshoe Falls.



Bridal Veil Falls and American Falls can be seen to the right of the Rainbow Bridge looking northbound below.  Bridal Veil Falls is the smallest of the three falls at Niagara Falls with a crest of only 56 feet.  American Falls is the second largest in Niagara Falls at 950 feet in width.


The Rainbow Bridge is officially known as the Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge.  The Rainbow Bridge is an arch structure that is 1,450 in length and has a maximum height of 202 feet above the Niagara River.


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