Update (8:44 a.m. Monday, July 17): Highway 4 east of Port Alberni, between Cathedral Grove and Whiskey Creek, reopened around 6:30 a.m. Monday, July 17 after an unplanned overnight closure due to sustained high winds posing a safety concern at Cameron Bluffs. A planned closure scheduled for 9:30 a.m. has been cancelled for Monday in order to clear traffic that accumulated overnight.
Highway 4 will be closed between Whiskey Creek and Port Alberni from 1:30–5 p.m. Monday and will revert to single lane-alternating traffic after 5 p.m.
Drivers are asked to monitor DriveBC.ca for upcoming closures.
High winds around Cameron Lake temporarily closed Highway 4 east of Port Alberni overnight Sunday, July 16. The wind posed safety concerns for cranes suspending protective wire mesh at Cameron Bluffs.
A seven-kilometre portion of the highway between Cathedral Grove/ MacMillan Provincial Park and Koen Road has been subject to closures since the 229-hectare Cameron Bluffs wildfire started in early June. The area has been single lane-alternating traffic around an area where large cranes are supporting a metal screen across the rock bluff. The area is subject to closure when winds hit a certain speed; the cranes have to be lowered, which puts the site at increased risk of falling debris.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure closed the highway at 4:20 p.m. on Sunday, July 16. Winds did not abate as expected at 8 p.m., forcing the overnight closure.
Weekday closures to start Monday, July 17
The full closure came less than a day before the highway will undergo temporary closures during the week to allow additional rock scaling and felling of danger trees as a result of the wildfire. The fire is under control and BC Wildfire does not expect it to spread. Crews continue to patrol the area and extinguish hot spots.
Beginning Monday, July 17 this portion of the highway will be closed during the day to allow for safe rock scaling. On Monday, the closure will start at 1:30 p.m. and the highway will reopen at 5 p.m. to single lane-alternating traffic. Following that, closures will be Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and from 1:30—5:30 p.m. Transportation ministry officials say the work needs to be done before winds and rain pick up in the fall in order to full reopen the highway to two-day traffic.
During weekdays there will be two openings of one hour each to release traffic midday:
– Westbound from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
— Eastbound from 12:30–1:30 p.m.
Tourism Tofino suggests anyone travelling west leave Nanaimo no later than 7:45 a.m. to make the 9 a.m. closure and leave no later than 10:15 a.m. to make the 11:30 a.m. opening.
Going eastbound, Tourism Tofino suggests leaving Tofino no later than 6:30 a.m. to make the 9 a.m. closure and leave no later than 10 a.m. to make the 12:30 p.m. opening.
After 5 p.m. the road will be open to single lane-alternating traffic again. There will not be closures on weekends or statutory holidays. Oversized loads and vehicles requiring permits must use the detour route.
The current opening times cater to the movement of essential goods as well as commuters travelling through Highway 4, according to the transportation ministry. Traffic performance will be monitored throughout the closures to see if any additional adjustments will be required.
The detour route through Lake Cowichan remains open although the pilot cars are no longer operating. The road has also not been graded due to extreme fire danger.
Drivers can keep up to date on the status of Highway 4 online at driveBC.ca and www.tranbc.ca/current-travel-advisories/.