(Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure photo)

(Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure photo)

Highway closure to block access to Vancouver Island’s Pacific Rim next week

Hwy. 4 to Ucluelet and Tofino to be shut down in both directions from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 23.

Access to Ucluelet and Tofino will be be severely restricted for most of a day next week

B.C.’s ministry of transportation and infrastructure has announced that Highway 4 — the only road connecting the Tofino-Ucluelet region to the rest of Vancouver Island — will be shut down in both directions from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23.

The ministry says the closure is needed to remove a large rock bluff as part of the provincial and federal government’s $38 million Kennedy Hill Improvement project.

“This 10-hour closure is required for crews to undertake one of the most complex blasts on the project. The daylight closure will allow workers time to prepare the road beneath the blast area, and to safely remove loose rock immediately following the blast,” the announcement reads.

Ucluelet mayor Mayco Noel said that removing the large rock bluff could catapult the project forward.

“There’s one nasty, big rock in question that these guys need to overcome and once they overcome this, it is going to be easy street,” he said. “I’ve been led to believe that there will be the possibility of less closures here if they can get around this obstacle…This is something to celebrate. If they can get this hazard dealt with, it’s going to be a good thing for the West Coast. It makes us get a little bit closer to the finish line.”

He added that once the Kennedy Hill project is complete, further roadwork will still be needed to bring the rest of the highway up to an acceptable safety standard.

“It won’t be to this extent of disruption, but for the foreseeable future there are going to be sections that need to be addressed so that the over-a-million travelling motorists have a bit of a safer, smoother road to travel on,” he said. “Until there is a motivation to actually deal with 20-30 kilometres that will serve the West Coast residents for 100 years, we’ll just continue to get piecemealed and this is what we end up with: two or three kilometres get repaired every year and, at the end of the day, it does get tiresome for everybody.”

Work on the project, which is focused on upgrading a roughly 1.5-kilometre stretch of highway near Kennedy Lake, began in 2018, bringing daily closures to West Coast commuters. The project was initially expected to be complete by the summer of 2020 but has since blown past that timeline. A firm new completion date has not been announced.

READ MORE: Highway closures hit travellers heading in and out of Tofino and Ucluelet

The current closure schedule, which includes four-hour closures from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each weekday, is expected to resume on Wednesday, March 24, according to the ministry.

The Highway 4 Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement Project closure schedule is attached for the period of February 22 to…

Posted by EAC Hwy 4 Kennedy Hill Project Updates on Monday, February 22, 2021

“When completed, the Highway 4–Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement Project will create a safer, more reliable connection between Port Alberni and the west coast of Vancouver Island,” the announcement reads. “The ministry thanks motorists and residents on both sides of the closure for their patience.”

Concerns have been raised around how the March 23 closure could impact a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for seniors in Ucluelet scheduled for March 24, but Noel assured multiple agencies are having “conversations in the background” to ensure that clinic goes as planned.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Tofino,Transportationucluelet

Just Posted

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply as overdose emergency turns 5

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

City workers from Duncan were busy recently putting up street signs in both Hul’q’umi’num’ and English. (Submitted photo)
Hul’q’umi’num street signs installed in downtown Duncan

Partnership with Cowichan Tribes sees English street names twinned with Indigenous language

A Sooke man died Tuesday afternoon after his car left the roadway in 7500-block of West Coast Road around 1:30 p.m. and hit a tree. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke man dies in Tuesday crash on West Coast Road

The man’s SUV left the roadway and struck a tree

Homicide investigators who asked not to be identified put up signs Wednesday, April 14, along the Nanaimo Parkway in the area where a body was found March 31. RCMP are asking for witnesses or dash cam footage as the suspicious death has now been ruled a homicide. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Suspicious death along Nanaimo Parkway now being investigated as a homicide

RCMP identify victim as Randell Charles Thomas, repeat call for any information related to the case

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo hospital experiencing another COVID-19 outbreak

Three patients tested positive for the virus in NRGH’s high-intensity rehab unit

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

Fish processing workers fillet farm-raised salmon in Surrey B.C. Photo courtesy BCSFA
Discovery Islands salmon farm removal impacts jobs in B.C.’s Lower Mainland: report

The City of Surrey is the hub of the salmon farming industry in Metro Vancouver

Health Canada headquarters in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Health Canada releases guidelines for reducing COVID-19 transmission at home

Improve indoor air quality by opening up your windows and doors, among the encouraged ventilation measures

Most Read