Hwy. 4 construction mishap causes eight-hour power outage in Tofino and Ucluelet

“Our infrastructure was damaged by rock hammering.”

A boulder came loose during rock blasting work being done along Highway 4 and crashed into a B.C. Hydro pole Thursday morning, causing an eight-hour power outage on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, including Tofino and Ucluelet.

Roughly 4,200 Hydro customers were affected.

“Our infrastructure was damaged by rock hammering that was in close proximity to our transmission infrastructure as part of the Kennedy Hill Safety Imporvement project,” Hydro spokesperson Karla Louwers told the Westerly News referring to the federal and provincial government’s $38 million joint-project to straighten out a 1.6 kilometre stretch of Highway 4.

Louwers explained a “large boulder rolled into our transmission pole,” around 8:10 a.m. and caused a power line to detach, resulting in the outage.

“Our local crews responded. They assessed the scene immediately this morning and then our transmission crews, who have the correct equipment to work on those high-voltage transmission lines, travelled from Nanaimo to complete the repairs,” she said.

Those crews arrived on scene around 11:30 a.m and completed the repair at around 2:40 p.m. Power was restored at 4 p.m.

Louwers said Hydro and B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will review the incident to ensure the Kennedy Hill project’s impact on Hydro’s ability to serve its customers is minimized.

“We’ll continue to work together to minimize impacts like this in the future,” she said. “We’ll review the incident that happened today and, if changes are needed or additional work needs to happen to minimize that impact, we’ll work together.”

The Westerly News has reached out to the Ministry for comment and will update this story as soon as new information is available.

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