(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.”

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A forested area of the Notch trail at Fairwinds Lakes District park in Nanoose Bay. (News Bulletin file photo)
Editorial: Don’t wait for pandemic to end to protect planet

This Earth Day, April 22, think about ways to protect the environment and combat climate change

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is putting a 41-passenger electric bus through its paces in a three-month trial run between Nanaimo and Victoria. (Photo submitted)
Electric bus on trial run serving Nanaimo-to-Victoria route

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus trying out 41-seat electric coach for three months

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two more COVID-19 cases identified as part of outbreak at Nanaimo hospital

Island Health says outbreak remains contained to one unit and the ‘hospital is still a safe place’

Beef. I noticed a man who had apparently toppled out of his wheelchair and was lying on Boundary Avenue near the hospital’s emergency department. I was shocked as numerous people casually walked by and ignored him. Thank you to the kind gentleman and others who did stop to offer help.
Beefs & Bouquets, April 21

To submit a bouquet or a beef to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Beef. I noticed a man who had apparently toppled out of his wheelchair and was lying on Boundary Avenue near the hospital’s emergency department. I was shocked as numerous people casually walked by and ignored him. Thank you to the kind gentleman and others who did stop to offer help.
Beefs & Bouquets, April 21

To submit a bouquet or a beef to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
An Island girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

The Coastal Fire Centre is looking ahead to the wildfire season on Vancouver Island. (Phil McLachlan – Western News)
Coastal Fire Centre looking ahead at wildfire season on Vancouver Island

‘We’re asking people in the spring to be very careful’

There are lots of resources for seniors looking for information about COVID-19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
COVID questions? Here are some phone-based resources available for seniors

Here is a list of numbers to keep on hand for Vancouver Islanders who aren’t fond of computers

Chum Salmon fry being examined with multiple motile and attached sea lice on Vargas Island. (Cedar Coast Field Station photo)
Study: Tofino fish farm sea lice infestations add fuel to push to remove open pens

Ahousaht First Nation asking for higher standards than what DFO requires

The City of Nanaimo will further investigate an initiative to set up two 12-cabin sites to create transitional emergency housing for people experiencing homelessness. (Black Press file photo)
City of Nanaimo will ask for expressions of interest to operate tiny cabin sites

Staff expresses concern about workload, councillor says sheltering people must take priority

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Most Read