The province has announced that Highway 4 construction at Kennedy Hill has hit a major milestone — daily closures will no longer impact daytime commuters.
The Port Alberni to Tofino highway which runs along the perimeter of Kennedy Lake for a significant distance has been in construction for years with delays affecting its progress at every turn.
Initially, the milestone the project has just reached was supposed to be completed in March 2022.
The province says the now one-year behind project was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, damage to the highway from a blast in January 2020, environmental protections and the need for smaller blasts due to the nature of the bedrock.
One year later, the road closures will now affect drivers slightly less with spring break approaching.
As of March 11th, no lane closures will affect weekday drivers between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. Any lane closure that occurs in the corridor will happen overnight. Weekend traffic will remain single-lane alternating traffic for the time being, but wait times are not anticipated to be more than 15 minutes.
Overnight commuters will still be impacted with the traffic queue being released only once, at 2 a.m. between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
According to BC’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the new schedule is meant to make trip planning easier for families, business owners, tour operators and commuters, especially with spring break so near.
Over 150,000 cubic metres of rock have been blasted from the corridor in order to widen, straighten and make the roadway above Kennedy Lake as safe as possible.
Now that the bluff-blasting portion of the project is complete, the focus will shift to road alignment, grade lowering and building supporting structures.
The province predicts the project will be mostly completed by this summer with finishing touches lasting through until fall.