If you’re a planning a trip to Tofino this weekend, you will be happy to hear that Highway 4 will be open to two-way traffic traffic as crews shut down the Kennedy Hill construction project for the holiday weekend.
The stretch of highway will return to single-lane alternating traffic after Monday, January 2nd at all times until January 12th.
On January 13th, the province says single-lane alternating traffic will be in place from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and open to two-way traffic at the end of each workday.
The project has reached several major milestones, including the placement of two cantilever bridges, slope stabilization and grading required for the final road width.
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 province says the timing of the full reopening of Kennedy Hill section of Highway 4 that connects Port Alberni to the west coast of Vancouver Island 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 1.5-kilometre 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 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.
The project was slated to be completed in 2020 but ran into several delays. The project is now slated to be complete in spring 2023.
With files from Curt Blandy