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The Queensway is a major road running through Ottawa from Kanata in the west to Orléans in the east. It incorporates the section of Highway 417 from Kanata to the junction with Regional Road 174 (formerly Highway 17). The Queensway also includes Regional Road 174 which continues east to Orléans. The Highway 417 section of the Queensway is owned and operated by the province of Ontario, while Regional Road 174 is now operated by the city of Ottawa. The junction between Highway 417 and Regional Road 174, is known locally as "the split".
There is some disagreement as to exactly what constitutes the Queensway at its easternmost point. Some consider the Queensway to refer strictly to Highway 417, including the area of the 417 east (technically south) of "the split" until it reaches Ottawa's city limits. Other's contend the Queensway does not include Highway 417 east of "the split", but rather includes Regional Road 174 east to Orléans instead, which is the alignment of the original highway 17 connecting Ottawa and Montreal, and the alignment of most of Ottawa's eastern population. Some actually include both highways when referring to the Queensway, while others claim the Queensway includes neither, ending at "the split" entirely. This, along with poor signage leading up to "the split" can lead to great confusion, for visitors and locals alike. (i.e. "Take the Queesway westbound (417), exit to the Queensway eastbound (174).")
The Queensway passes right through the heart of Ottawa, being elevated along much of its route. At its widest point, the Queensway is twelve lanes wide (6 lanes per direction). The speed limit on the entire Queensway is 100 km/h (65 mph), although it is difficult to reach that speed in the downtown section at any time of day due to the frequent exits and considerable weaving, and congestion reduces speed at rush hour in many sections.
The Queensway, being the only major east-west freeway in Canada's national capital region, has already greatly exceeded its designed capacity, and experiences long delays during rush hour. In particular, the junction between Highway 417 and Regional Road 174 ("the split") is considered by many to be poorly designed, and is a major bottleneck, causing extensive delays that last well beyond the peak traffic time. Similar congestion occurs in the west end of Ottawa. As of 2005, The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO), is in the preliminary planning stages of an extensive upgrade of the infrastructure of the Queensway, along Highway 417 from Highway 416 easterly to Anderson Road.
Queensway is also a neighbourhood in west Ottawa. See Queensway (neighbourhood)
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