The Ucluelet Volunteer Fire Brigade responded to a flipped fuel truck on Highway 4 near Kennedy Lake in June, 2017. (Photo-Ucluelet Volunteer Fire Brigade)

$30 million project to make Hwy 4 to Tofino better

Highways crews set to smooth out the Kennedy Lake climb starting this spring

The wildest stretch of highway leading to the Pacific Rim of Vancouver Island is getting its rough edges smoothed out.

The tight, steep, cliffside Highway 4 climb down to Kennedy Lake on the way to Tofino is getting a 1.5-kilometre, $30 million makeover that will take two years, and frequent road closures, to complete.

Construction will begin this spring and is expected to last until the summer of 2020, according B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, which has unveiled a proposed schedule of highway closures that it says are needed to get the job done.

READ MORE: Upgrades announced for highway to Tofino and Ucluelet

The current schedule suggests the highway will close in both directions everyday from 10 p.m. to midnight and again from 1-4 a.m. and 5-7 a.m. Travellers can expect roughly 30 minute delays during daylight hours as the road will be open to single-lane, alternating traffic.

Ministry spokesperson Danielle Pope said the work includes removing more than 300,000 cubic metres — roughly 130 Olympic-sized swimming pools — worth of earth and rock to allow for the road, and its shoulders to be widened and a new roadside barrier to be installed between the highway and the lake.

She explained that this stretch of highway will also be straightened out and flattened and a hazardous, overhanging, rock will be removed. A new rest area and viewpoint is also expected to be completed.

“Discussions have been ongoing over the past year with First Nations, emergency responders, Parks Canada and business and tourism associations,” Pope said. “This input, along with the feedback from the public information sessions, will be used to finalize the construction timeline, including overnight traffic stoppage periods and a protocol for emergency response.”

READ MORE: Highway construction to face nightly closures this summer

She added conversations are also ongoing with local first responders.

“Ministry staff are working closely with first responders to develop an emergency protocol that will ensure emergency vehicles have access through the site at all times during an incident,” she said. “There will also be a contingency plan to open the highway for an evacuation should a disaster event occur.”

The $30 million bill for the work is being split between the provincial and federal government, with the province handling the lion’s share at $16.5 million.

Highway 4 was blocked in both directions several times last year prompting Ucluelet’s mayor Dianne St. Jacque to lobby for a car-ferry service as an alternate route of travel.

Just Posted

Trick-or-treaters, and everyone else, welcomed to the Crescent

Victoria Crescent neighbourhood partners with City of Nanaimo on new welcome signs

Regional District of Nanaimo board will be almost all new

Only 3-4 directors out of 19 returning to RDN board table

Premier promises Nanaimo byelection before February budget debate

Historically safe NDP seat will be vacated by longtime MLA Leonard Krog

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Northfield intersection realignment won’t improve traffic flow

Is the new design actually any better, asks letter writer

Suspect who died at Nanaimo ferry terminal shot himself at the same time police fired

Officers didn’t commit any offence, says police watchdog office

OPINION: Nanaimo not only voted, but voted with purpose

Nanaimo’s civic leadership will see the change that so many wanted

UPDATED: 34 rescued off whale watching boat in Georgia Strait

Tour company says vessel experienced some kind of mechanical issue

Pipeline opponents blast Trans Mountain re-approval plan

Environmental advocates, First Nations leaders say NEB review has same flaws as it had before

Opioid crisis may be shortening British Columbians’ life expectancy: report

Canada among healthiest wealthy countries, but 8,000 overdose deaths since 2016 are causing concern

B.C. cold case helps ‘60 Minutes’ explain genetic genealogy

An arrest in the 1987 double-murder of two people from Victoria was one of three examples highlighted in a segment you can watch here

Delivery of cannabis could be impacted by postal strike

BC Liquor Distribution Branch look at alternative third-party delivery services

Local businesses that go above and beyond honoured at annual gala

Better Business Bureau of Vancouver Island Torch Awards go Nov. 2 at the Union Club

Around the BCHL: Chilliwack Chiefs snag spot in CJHL national rankings

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the BCHL and the junior A world.

Rural regions get priority for B.C. referendum mail-out

Ballot security measures aim to protect against voter fraud

Most Read