Travellers can expect further delays along Highway 4 east of Port Alberni, as the highway will be periodically closed over the next few weeks for rock scaling and removal of danger trees.
The highway, connecting Port Alberni and the West Coast to the east side of Vancouver Island, has been open to single-lane alternating traffic since June 23. It had previously been closed since June 6, after an out-of-control wildfire reached the highway.
The province’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced on Tuesday, July 11 that geotechnical surveys of the area have been completed and “further work is required” to stabilize the terrain and ensure that safety concerns are met. As a result, Highway 4 will be closed periodically to accommodate rock scaling and the removal of danger trees. In order for this work to be completed, the cranes holding safety netting must be moved temporarily, making it unsafe for traffic to pass through the area.
Starting on Monday, July 17, the Highway 4 schedule will be as follows:
Monday – Friday:
- 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.: closed to all traffic
- 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.: open to flush traffic in both directions (single-lane alternating)
- 1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: closed to all traffic
- 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 a.m.: open to single-lane alternating
Weekends and statutory holidays:
- open to single-lane alternating traffic
The ministry says that for safety, this work must be done during daylight hours and cannot be delayed until the fall, because the summer months are the most appropriate time frame for workers.
The work is expected to take up to four weeks, with a possible re-opening of the highway mid-August.
Meanwhile, a Highway 4 detour along Bamfield Main is still open and travellers may use this route; however, due to fire hazard concerns, the road is not able to be graded at this time.
The ministry says it plans to arrange for port-a-potties to be installed along Highway 4, in case of extended waits. In the event of a large-scale emergency, work can be paused for emergency personnel to pass.