Based on community feedback, the traffic-stoppage schedule has been adjusted to better accommodate tourists and local commuters before construction begins next month on Highway 4 at Kennedy Hill.
“I would like to thank the community for engaging with the ministry as we tackle the long-standing need to improve safety at Kennedy Hill,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Input from community leaders, local business and people living in Pacific Rim communities has been invaluable, and has helped the ministry fine-tune the construction schedule and communications for this essential upgrade to Highway 4.”
More than 130 people attended the information sessions held Jan. 23-24, 2018, in Tofino and Ucluelet, and by Feb. 4, the ministry had received 71 comment forms. All feedback has been considered, along with constructability, technical and engineering factors, financial information, and the input from meetings held with First Nations and other key stakeholders over the past year.
As a result, the ministry has made a number of adjustments to the proposed traffic management strategies. These include:
- Changing the first nighttime stoppage window to begin at 10 p.m., year-round;
- Ending the last nighttime stoppage window at 7 a.m., year-round;
- Eliminating the first stoppage window on Friday nights, meaning the first stoppages will begin at 1 a.m. on Saturdays;
- Adding three more changeable message signs, bringing the total to eight that will be placed strategically along the corridor; and
- Developing a brochure with travel information.
These adjustments will provide more consistency for travel planning and will further accommodate evening ferry schedules.
“Over my years as MLA, I have heard countless stories of close calls and concerns about safety at Kennedy Hill from people who have driven Highway 4, and this project will help keep all vehicles moving safely,” said Scott Fraser, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim.
The ministry remains committed to ensuring priority access for emergency responders through the construction site at all times.
In addition, the ministry will consider implementing slow-moving vehicle staging areas. Traffic control personnel will be placed closer to Port Alberni and the junction, if needed, to provide better traffic flow.
Emil Anderson Construction of Kelowna has been awarded the $29-million contract. Construction is scheduled to start in April 2018, and finish in summer 2020. During construction, impacts to traffic will be communicated extensively through stakeholder meetings, project email, phone and website contacts, media releases, DriveBC notices, changeable message signs and various social media channels. The toll-free 1 855 451-7152 travel information hotline will be updated daily by the contractor.
The Highway 4 - Kennedy Hill Safety Improvements project will create a safer and more reliable connection between Port Alberni and the west coast of Vancouver Island. The total project cost has been raised to $38.1 million from the original estimate of $30 million, due to the unique challenges of the location, the complex excavation of the high bluff and stringent traffic-management requirements. The project is cost-shared, with the Government of Canada contributing $13.5 million and the Province providing the remaining $24.6 million.
General project information, the summary of input received at the public information sessions and traffic schedules are available at: www.gov.bc.ca/highway4kennedyhill
You can leave the project team a message at 1 855 451-7152, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For travel advisories, visit: www.drivebc.ca
Follow @DriveBC and #BCHwy4 on Twitter