The West Coast Junction's signage is a welcome sight to locals and visitors

$27 million upgrade announced for highway to Tofino and Ucluelet

"It's a perpetual group effort and I'm excited about any improvements that will help that stretch for sure.”

The only road in and out of the West Coast is getting a multi-million-dollar makeover.

Canada’s Minister of infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi joined B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone on March 9 to announce their respective governments have committed to splitting a $27 million bill to upgrade a portion of the Pacific Rim Highway roughly 14 kilometres east of the West Coast junction.

“We identified Highway 4 widening and alignment improvements near Kennedy Lake as a priority in our BC on the Move transportation plan,” Stone said through a joint media release. “Thanks to this valuable partnership with Canada, we are now moving forward on this project that will improve safety on this vital route linking the communities of Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet, and providing access to the Pacific Rim National Park.”

The project will focus on widening and straightening a roughly 1.5 kilometre stretch of highway that’s currently a terrifying 30 km/h zone rife with sharp turns and blind corners.

“This project will make it safer and easier for local residents, tourists and commercial drivers travelling along kennedy Lake,” Sohi said through the release.”The Government of Canada will continue to work in close collaboration with British Columbia to ensure we make smart infrastructure investments that help provide job opportunities for the middle-class and build the Canada of tomorrow.”

The project is expected to get underway in the spring of 2018 and will take roughly two years to complete.

This is great news,” Tofino mayor Josie Osborne told the Westerly News. “It is definitely the most challenging section of highway for passenger vehicles, buses, and transport trucks between the West Coast and Port Alberni.”

She said safety improvements on that portion of highway have long been lobbied for by local officials and added West Coasters won’t likely complain about the traffic delays caused by the much-needed work.

I know that elected officials from Ucluelet and Tofino have brought this up to the Province repeatedly over the years, and I was happy to see it specifically included in the BC On the Move ten year transportation plan,” she said. “It’s exactly the kind of project that we can patiently withstand the inconvenience of construction knowing that safety will be vastly improved.”

The announcement was music to the ears of Ucluelet’s longest serving current councillor Randy Oliwa, who said increased highway safety has been an annual ask at Union of B.C. Municipality conventions.

Since I’ve been on council from 2008, we’ve met with several transportation ministers as mayor and councils every September and we’ve lobbied and pitched,” he said adding, several years ago, Ucluelet’s then mayor Bill Irving invited ministry staff up to experience the highway first-hand.

We actually had them come up and we put them in a vehicle and we drove them that section of highway and back. It was all those years of laying the foundation for the new highway foundation. It’s a perpetual group effort and I’m excited about any improvements that will help that stretch for sure.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Port Alberni language pole becomes ‘spiritual journey’

Funding shortfall could prove to be saving grace for project

Fines bring an end to Tofino’s controversial Poole’s Land community

Michael Poole is selling the roughly 20-acre property.

CARE column: Cold winter season terrifying for stray cats

Kittens Starsky and Hutch will have a warm foster home this winter.

Tofino’s top engineer leaves district amidst massive sewage treatment project

District office currently working through $60 million sewage treatment plant

VIDEO: Remembrance Day in Ucluelet

Town gathers at Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans Club for Remembrance Day ceremony.

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

VIDEO: B.C. man trapped under ATV for days shows promise at Victoria hospital

Out of induced coma, 41-year-old is smiling, squeezing hands and enjoying sunshine

Most Read