After hearing strong support from local residents, emergency services and tourism companies, daytime closure windows will continue on the Highway 4 Kennedy Hill improvement project.
“We are pleased to share that we have made the decision to revert back to midday daily closures,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “There is no ideal time to close the highway, but I know the existing closures are part of people’s routine now. The ministry’s main goal is to ensure worker safety and to free up the highway for the heavy summer tourist volumes that are returning now that COVID-19 restrictions are lifting.”
From July 5 to 11, Highway 4 will remain open via single lane alternating traffic with no extended daytime closures. To accommodate continued work operations and the increasing summer traffic volumes, traffic will be released and fully cleared at the top of every hour through the day.
Starting Monday July 12, daytime closures will resume on weekdays between 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. and between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with top of the hour traffic releases at all other times of the day and night. On weekends, drivers can expect top of the hour traffic releases.
“The District of Tofino is pleased the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has made significant progress on completing some of the hardest and most dangerous work on Kennedy Hill,” said Dan Law, mayor of Tofino. “In conjunction with our residents and business community, the District of Tofino supports the summer schedule. We realize that these decisions are complex and that finding the best compromise can be difficult; however, the ministry has shown diligence and flexibility in hearing and responding to new information and constructive community input. Well done.”
Daytime closures have been in place since last year to allow crews to safely undertake some of the most complex blasting on the project. The blasting is necessary to widen and straighten the highway following along the high rock bluffs beside Kennedy Lake.
“This is great news! I want to thank Minister Osborne and her staff as well as the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s staff for quickly arranging time to meet with representatives from the coast and hear the concerns of our locals and businesses, appreciating the impact that this change could create over the summer months,” said Mayco Noël, mayor of Ucluelet. “With this schedule staying the same, residents of the west coast can keep their pre-planned appointments, and visitors do not need to worry about changing schedules or cancelling much-deserved holidays this summer.”
Once complete, 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 project will benefit the surrounding communities by stimulating economic development and tourism opportunities that rely on this vital corridor.
The ministry thanks area residents and other travellers who rely on the highway for their patience during the construction period.
- Improved drainage ditches and rock fall protection measures, along with wider shoulders will improve safety for everyone who travels the highway, including drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
- The project will benefit commercial and recreational vehicles with a reduced road grade and elimination of the overhanging rock. This will make the drive safer and easier to navigate, especially for larger vehicles.
- The new rest area and viewpoint will be a benefit to area tourism.
To listen to the travel information hotline message, updated daily during construction, call: 1 855 451-7152
For the most up-to-date information before travel, check: www.drivebc.ca
And follow @DriveBC and #BCHwy4 on Twitter.
General project information and traffic schedules are available at: www.gov.bc.ca/highway4kennedyhill
Visit the project page on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/eac.bc.ca.kennedy.hill/
For more information on the Emergency Support Hubs for commercial truck drivers and RVs and campers, contact Pacific Rim National Park Reserve at: 250 726-3524
Guidance to construction sites operating during COVID-19 is available at: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020EMBC0002-000542