plaque honouring voyageurs along Ottawa River

Ottawa’s Queensway

During the 1950s, the Greber Plan called for the a divided highway through the growing city of Ottawa, to be known as The Queensway, which would be a grade-separated freeway away from the urban alignment of Highway 17. This plan also provided for parkways along the western rail lines into the downtown, and the parkways along the Rideau Canal rail alignments into downtown. The entire project would cost C$31 million and emphasized the importance of the link to the Trans Canada Highway. Queen Elizabeth came in 1957, to not only open Parliament and to detonate some of the railway lines using dynamite, to start this project.

Queensway view, at Greenbank

The Queensway was constructed in four phases, each opening independently:

  1. from Alta Vista Drive (now Riverside Drive) east to Highway 17 (Montreal Road) which opened in 1960
  2. from Highway 7 and Highway 15 (Richmond Road) to Carling Avenue;
  3. from Carling Avenue to O’Connor Street; and,
  4. from O’Connor Street to Alta Vista Drive, crossing the Rideau Canal and Rideau River.

Parliament Hill View, from Nepean Point

The last four sections had more significant grade separations, bridge structures, not just over roads, but over the Rideau Canal. These phases opened in 1966 and received the Highway 17 designation, while the old routing was renumbered as Highway 17B.

Prior to the completion of this section of freeway, Highway 17 followed Carling Avenue and March Road from Ottawa to west of Carp.

Construction began to extend the Queensway west of Ottawa in 1967, opening an extension to Moodie Drive in 1969, and continued west past march Road (serving the new suburb of Kanata), to a junction with Highway 7 (to Carleton Place), and a junction with Highway 49 west of Carp (to Almonte Ontario), which opened in 1970.

In 1975, when the Queensway was extended all the way to Montreal by Highway 417, that name was applied to the entire twinned highway. By 1998, the 417 Highway was extended north to Panmure Road and to Arnprior. In 2004 a flyover ramp to a newly twinned Highway 7 to Carleton Place was added.

During the 1970s, the middle median ditch was replaced with a proper concrete crash barrier (This technology was already used to expand Highway 400 between Toronto and Barrie 6 lanes from the original 4)

During the 1980s, OC Transit added Transitways along the sides to speed bus traffic into the city, between Eagleson / March Road and Moodie Drive in the west and between Blair Road and Place d’Orléans Drive in the east. A bus-only shoulder is used by OCTranspo’s Transitway rapid-transit network.

Jacques Cartier Bridge

The Macdonald-Cartier Bridge (French: Pont Macdonald-Cartier)

By 1963, the governments of Ontario & Quebec have worked in the construction of the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge between Ottawa & Hull. The bridge is a 618 m long continuous steel box girder bridge and carries six lanes of traffic. It links King Edward Avenue and Sussex Drive in Ottawa with Autoroute 5 in Quebec. It is the easternmost bridge linking Ottawa to Gatineau, running just east of the Alexandra Bridge.

It was named after John A. Macdonald and George-Étienne Cartier, joint premiers of the Province of Canada, and the name is representative of the link between French and English Canada.

Other recent improvements:

2014: 17 Arnprior By-Pass, Campbell Dr. to Scheel Dr. 2 to 4 lane widening 2016

2016: Arnprior By?Pass, Campbell Drive to Scheel Drive Phase 2 Two to four and five?lane widening

2014: 417 – Underway Eagleson Rd. to Hwy 7, Ottawa (HOV) 4 to 8 and 4 to 6 lane widening

2014: Hunt Club Interchange, Ottawa New interchange

2015: 417 – Parkdale Ave., Ottawa Interchange improvements
Rideau Canal view to Dow's lake

2015: Hwy 416 to Anderson Rd., Phase 5 , Nicholas St. to Ottawa Rd. 174, Ottawa Six to eight?lane widening / bridge replacements / rehabilitation / widenings

2015: 417 – Nicholas St. to Ottawa Rd. 174, Ottawa 6 to 8 lane widening, bridge replacements / rehabilitations / widenings

2020: 417 – Maitland Ave. to Island Park Dr., Ottawa Six to eight-lane widening

2022: 417 – Planned Hwy 416 to Maitland Ave., Ottawa Six to eight-lane widening

Trans Canada Highway Itinerary Map

Use mouse to drag/move map. Click on “+” or “” to zoom in or out. “Satellite” combines map & photo.