Highway 4 has been the source of delays for many drivers on their way out to Tofino and Uculet for more than three years while construction was being completed.
The Kennedy Hill section of Highway 4 that connects Port Alberni to the west coast of Vancouver Island is reopening to two way traffic by early January.
The province says the timing of the full reopening is weather dependent.
The section of highway crews were working on is now a safer, more reliable road for all those who use it, especially for truckers and commercial vehicle drivers.
The road has been straightened and flattened to improve visibility and traction when rain and snow are present. The lanes were also made wider along with the highway’s shoulders and there are new roadside barriers between the road and Kennedy Lake.
To achieve all these improvements, 180,000 cubic metres of rock had to be blasted, stabilization bolts were drilled into the hillside, water retaining structures were installed downslope to catch rainwater and the whole thing cost approximately $54 million.
“The project, which is now more than 90% complete, has removed overhanging rock, which was a hazard for commercial vehicles and a source of rockfalls onto the highway,” said the province in a media release announcing the highway’s progress.
The new section of highway also has a new rest stop area complete with new washroom facilities and a viewpoint of Kennedy Lake which will be accessible for all vehicle types.
Road flooding and hydroplaning will no longer be a concern to drivers either because of a new drainage system that was installed during construction.
This drainage system meets new standards of resilience to survive longer given the changing climate.
“When both lanes are open, traffic impacts will be reduced to nighttime closures and minor interruptions during the day while the contractor continues to work toward final project completion in the spring,” said the province.
Real-time conditions for any highway on Vancouver Island can be checked via DriveBC.