A $38 million upgrade is about to get started on a roughly 1.5-kilometre stretch along Hwy. 4.

A $38 million upgrade is about to get started on a roughly 1.5-kilometre stretch along Hwy. 4.

Hwy 4 project near Tofino and Ucluelet kicks off with minor delays

‘Be safe and drive slow’

Commuters to and from the West Coast will be eased into two years worth of highway delays.

The provincial and federal government are splitting a $38 million project to upgrade a roughly 1.5 kilometre stretch of Highway 4 near Kennedy Hill, with B.C. picking up the larger share of the tab at $24.6 million and Ottawa pitching in $13.5 million.

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure recently announced it had awarded a $29 million contract to Kelowna-based Emil Anderson Construction to straighten out the windy stretch of road and blast away a rock wall hanging over it.

EAC project coordinator David Gourlay told the Westerly News that crews are expecting to start working in the area on May 7, but much of the first two months will be spent removing trees and clearing a path to the top of the rock.

“We can’t get our equipment to where it needs to get right now because the terrain is so difficult,” he said.

He said commuters should expect roughly 10-minute delays during May and June while the clearing is being done, but added June’s summer traffic could increase wait times.

Blasting is expected to get underway in July and will be done by drilling holes into the top of the rock for explosives to be dropped into. A team of rock scalers will chip away at any rocks that didn’t fall during the blast.

Once the blasting begins, so to will two years worth of nightly highway closures with the highway being shut down in both directions from 10 p.m. to midnight, 1-4 a.m. and 5-7 a.m. Friday is the only exception to the schedule as the highway will remain open until 1 a.m. Saturday morning to allow weekend travellers to arrive late.

“It’s important that all the drivers obey all the construction signage,” Gourlay said. “There’s going to be lots of signs and they just need to respect the information. Be safe and drive slow.”

Gourlay penned a letter distributed throughout the West Coast last week explaining that, from July on, the road will be open to single-lane alternating traffic during the day and drivers should expect roughly 30 minute delays during summer months.

“Outside of peak periods, these delays should be much reduced,” he wrote. “We apologize for any inconvenience this project will impose on you, but hope you understand that we are working towards a safer highway for all of us.”

The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2020.

Anyone looking for information can find it at www.gov.bc.ca/highway4kennedyhill and a traffic hotline for daily updates can be reached at 1-855-451-7152.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The District of Tofino has put new restrictions in place around alcohol at public events. (Westerly file photo)
Tofino puts new restrictions on alcohol at public events

Town’s council adopts Municipal Alcohol Policy.

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Gord John stands during question period in Ottawa in Sept. 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY CHRISTIAN DIOTTE, HOUSE OF COMMONS PHOTO SERVICES)
2020: A Year in Review with Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns

NDP MP wants to ‘build back better’ in 2021

Tofino expects to elect a new mayor and two new councillors on March 6. (Westerly file photo)
Nomination period begins for Tofino byelection

Tofino is set to replace former mayor Josie Osborne, who is now the Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Quebec’s BEI completes investigation into Chantel Moore’s fatal shooting by Edmundston police officer

New Brunswick’s public prosecutions services and chief coroner to conduct public hearing

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
One in five tests in Fernie area coming back positive: doctor

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
From the “You can’t make this stuff up” file – stories from the BC CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

Video of man doing backflip off Vancouver bridge draws police condemnation

Group says in Instagram story that they ‘don’t do it for the clout’

The RCMP are reminding drivers to find alternative ways home if they have consumed anything that impairs their ability to drive. (Black Press file photo)
Impaired Island driver flees road check twice on the same night

The officer issued the driver numerous violation tickets, and a four-month driving suspension

Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)
B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

Auditor finds nearly half of bridges overdue for repair

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at a fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. Mowi Canada has applied to the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review of the decision by Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan to phase out salmon farming in the Discovery Islands by June, 2022. (Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward photo)
Major B.C. salmon farms seek court intervention in Discovery Islands ban

Fisheries minister is phasing out operations in the area by June 2022

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Most Read