Skip to main content

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.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hetch Hetchy Valley; Hetch Hetchy Railroad, abandoned Lake Eleanor Road, and the Wapama Fall Bridge

This June I took a trip out to Yosemite National Park upon receiving my COVID-19 Day Use Reservation.  My destination in Yosemite National Park was out in Hetch Hetchy Valley.  I sought to hike to the Wapama Fall Bridge which took me through some of the path of the former Hetch Hetchy Valley Railroad and abandoned Lake Eleanor Road.



Part 1; Hetch Hetchy Valley, the Hetch Hetchy Railroad, and reservoir roads

Hetch Hetchy is glacially carved valley similar to Yosemite Valley which is located on the Tuolumne River of Tuolumne County.  Hetch Hetchy Valley presently is impounded by the O'Shaughnessy Dam which was completed during 1923 as part of a project to deliver water and hydroelectric power to the City of San Francisco.  Before being impounded Hetch Hetchy Valley had an average depth of approximately 1,800 feet with a maximum depth of approximately 3,000 feet.  Hetch Hetchy Valley is approximately three miles long and as much as a half mile wide.  Hetch Hetchy Valley is located dow…

Mineral King Road, the White Chief Mine, and the unbuilt California State Route 276

Back in July of 2016 I took Mineral King Road east from California State Route 198 to Mineral King Valley within the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Sequoia National Park.  This June I revisited Mineral King Valley and made my way up to the White Chief Mine.


Mineral King Road is a 24.8 mile rural highway maintained by the National Park Service and as Tulare County Mountain Road 375.  Mineral King Road originates at California State Route 198 in Three Rivers near the confluence of the Middle Fork Kaweah River and the East Fork Kaweah River.  Mineral King Road climbs from a starting elevation of 1,400 feet above sea level to 7,830 feet above sea level at the White Chief Mine Trailhead in Mineral King Valley.  Notably Mineral King Road is stated to have 697 curves.


Mineral King Road has an average grade of 5.1% but has several stretches between 15-20% in places.  Pjammycycling has a detailed breakdown on the grade levels over the entirety of Mineral King Road.

Pjammycycling on Mineral King R…

California's Rogue Sign State Route Shields

While recently revisiting Yosemite National Park I took a couple minutes to capture some of the California Sign State Route shields posted by the National Park Service ("NPS").  None of the NPS shields were actually posted on roadways maintained by Caltrans but were clearly intended to create route continuity with the Sign State Highways.  This phenomenon is not exclusive to Yosemite National Park and can be found on numerous roads not maintained by Caltrans throughout California.



Part 1; Route continuity over who maintains the route

In the very early era of State Highways in California the Division of Highways didn't actually field sign the Auto Trails or even US Routes.  The responsibility of Highway signage fell to the California State Automobile Association ("CSAA") and Automobile Club of Southern California ("ACSC").  The Auto Clubs simply signed Highways on roadways that best served navigational purposes.  These navigational purposes often didn&#…