Speed limit increase coming to Highway 401 west of Kingston

Highway 401 signage near Hill Island and the 1000 Islands International Bridge to the USA. Photo by Ken Lund.

Drivers on some of Ontario’s busiest highways will see a change to marked speed limits this summer. The Ontario government is raising the speed limit permanently from 100 km/h to 110 km/h on 10 additional sections of provincial highways in northern and southern Ontario.

In the Kingston area, drivers will notice the change on the section of Highway 401 between Kingston and Belleville, and continuing further west. According to a release from the provincial government dated Wednesday, Apr. 24, 2024, the change builds on the safe and successful increase to six sections of provincial highways in 2022 and aligns with posted speed limits in other jurisdictions across Canada.

“Most of Ontario’s highways were originally designed to safely accommodate speed limits of 110 km/h and the data from our changes in 2022 shows they do just that,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Minister of Transportation.

“These evidence-based increases are a common-sense change to make life more convenient for Ontario drivers while bringing our highway speed limits in line with other Canadian provinces.”

Starting July 12, 2024, the speed limit will be permanently raised to 110 km/h on most of the following provincial highway sections, with the remainder coming into force before the end of the year:

  • Hwy 401, Tilbury, extending the existing 110 km/h zone further east by 7 km
  • Hwy 401 from Hwy 35/115 to Cobourg (approximately 35 km)
  • Hwy 401 from Colborne to Belleville (approximately 44 km)
  • Hwy 401 from Belleville to Kingston (approximately 66 km)
  • Hwy 401 from Hwy 16 to Quebec boundary (approximately 107 km)
  • Hwy 403 from Woodstock to Brantford (approximately 26 km)
  • Hwy 403 from Brantford to Hamilton (approximately 14.5 km)
  • Hwy 406 from Thorold to Welland (approximately 13 km)
  • Hwy 416 from Hwy 401 to Ottawa (approximately 70 km)
  • Hwy 69 from Sudbury to French River (approximately 60 km)

The government noted that stunt driving penalties will continue to apply at 150 km/h. On the highway sections with increased speed limits, stunt driving penalties will apply at 40 km/h over the posted speed limit.

Image via the Ontario government.

According to the release, all highway sections were selected based on their ability to safely accommodate higher speed limits. Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan have a maximum speed limit of 110 km/h, while in British Columbia, the maximum speed limit is 120 km/h.

3 thoughts on “Speed limit increase coming to Highway 401 west of Kingston

  • Meh. It will just invite motorists to burn more gas faster, which is last thing we need. Most cars, vans, pickup trucks and SUVs are most fuel-efficient when they’re travelling between 50 and 80 km per hour. Above this speed zone, vehicles use increasingly more fuel the faster they go.

    For example, at 120 km per hour, a vehicle uses about 20% more fuel than at 100 km per hour. On a 25-km trip, this spike in speed – and fuel consumption – would cut only two minutes from your travel time. Not worth it.

    Source: Natural Resources Canada https://natural-resources.canada.ca/energy-efficiency/transportation-alternative-fuels/personal-vehicles/fuel-efficient-driving-techniques/21038#

  • Thanks, Helga. This is a reasoned and well researched response. Unfortunately, drivers who seem to prefer speeding will simply ratchet up their use of gas and their complaints about the cost. I can foresee a spike in the number of charges for stunt driving.

  • In theory, this should work, but I’ve been disappointed before.

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