Hwy. 4 at Kennedy Hill will be shut down for 24 hours to allow crews to remove a bridge installed after a blasting mishap caused a rockslide on Jan. 23. (Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure photo)

Tofino-Ucluelet highway reopens after 24-hour closure

Hwy. 4 at Kennedy Hill will be shut down from 11 a.m. Feb. 22 to at 11 a.m. Feb. 23.

Drivers can once again get in and out of Tofino-Ucluelet as a planned 24-hour closure of Hwy. 4 wrapped up on Sunday afternoon.

The road was shut down in both directions from 11 a.m. Feb 22 to just after 11 a.m. Feb. 23 as crews work to remove a temporary bridge that was installed on Hwy. 4 after a blasting accident caused a rockslide last month.

READ MORE: Tofino-Ucluelet highway reopens after bridge installed earlier than expected

The blasting was being done as part of the provincial and federal government’s $38 million Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement Project.

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced the planned closure on Feb. 4.

“This 24-hour closure is required for crews to remove the specialized 20-metre, single-lane temporary bridge structure installed earlier this month after a large volume of rock damaged the road,” the announcement read. “The bridge removal and permanent slope repair at this location are necessary for blasting to continue, allowing the project to stay on schedule for completion by the end of summer 2020.”

READ MORE: Mayors call for “calmness” and “empathy” as highway closure cuts communities off from supplies

The ministry added that the 24-hour closure was scheduled to occur over a weekend to avoid blocking weekday commuters and delivery trucks.

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

The $38 million project is scheduled to wrap up this summer, though Ucluelet mayor Mayco Noel has expressed doubt that it will be completed on time because of several construction mishaps that have occurred, particurlarly the blasting accident that caused the temporary bridge to be needed.

READ MORE: Heavy rain has Ucluelet mayor concerned about Hwy. 4 construction schedule

A ministry spokesperson told the Westerly News that the construction project is still expected to wrap up this summer, however its $38 million budget is under review.

“With repairs to the slope and the removal of the temporary bridge planned for later in the month, the costs associated haven’t been finalized,” the spokesperson said.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

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READ MORE: VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

READ MORE: Ucluelet mayor demands Wi-Fi for commuters stuck in Hwy. 4 construction closures

READ MORE: Construction on Hwy. 4 halted after tree crashes into traffic

READ MORE: Rock blasting debris shuts down highway between Tofino-Ucluelet and rest of Vancouver Island

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