Woodpeckers are causing significant damage to BC Hydro poles between Port Alberni and the West Coast. (Photo - Marc Hoffman/SongbirdPhoto.com)

Woodpeckers are causing significant damage to BC Hydro poles between Port Alberni and the West Coast. (Photo - Marc Hoffman/SongbirdPhoto.com)

Woodpecker damage forces Hydro pole replacement on Highway 4

The highway in and out of the West Coast will be closed four hours on May 3.

BC Hydro is installing fibreglass poles along Highway 4 because woodpeckers are wreaking havoc on the utility company’s wooden ones.

The highway will be closed in both directions near Sproat Lake for four hours during the early morning hours of May 3, while Hydro replaces a pole that woodpeckers have destroyed.

The closure will run from 12:01 a.m. to 4 a.m.

“We did select a time to minimize the impact to commuters,” Louwers said adding there is no detour around that stretch of the highway so Hydro will have flaggers at the West Coast junction while the work is going on to warn travellers of the delay ahead.

“We thank everybody for their patience.”

She added the pole being replaced was inspected to make sure no woodpeckers were nesting within it and that it is one of several in the area to be replaced with fibreglass.

“We certainly do have poles that are impacted by woodpeckers in other areas as well, but we are seeing in this specific area a higher concentration of poles that are damaged by woodpeckers,” she said.

No power outage is expected as Hydro plans to keep the transmission line energized, and lifted by a crane, while the work is underway.

“In order to do the work energized, we need two cranes as well as our bucket truck and the area that we are changing the pole is a narrow portion of the highway, which is why we require the full closure so no traffic will be passing in either direction while we’re completing the work.”