Friday, May 17, 2024

After nearly three months closed Highway 4 to be fully reopened ahead of long weekend (UPDATED)

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UPDATE:

Highway 4 has been reclosed due to a fencing issue, but another update will be coming from DriveBC Vancouver Island’s X (Twitter) account.

ORIGINAL:

Some good news to travellers looking to go to or from Port Alberni, Ucluelet or Tofino this long weekend! 

By Thursday, August 31st at 5 p.m. construction will be wrapped up on the wildfire ravaged section of Highway 4 that runs parallel to Cameron Lake. 

After 5 p.m., two-way traffic will be open to all commuters.

Along that corridor, to the north is the lake, but to the south of the roadway is a steep cliff which was the site of the Cameron Lake Bluffs wildfire. 

Prior to the fire, the trees were enough to stabilize loose earth along the highway, preventing anything from falling on commuters below, but the fire that ran rampant on the slopes changed everything. 

Post-wildfire, the slopes were left severely destabilized with trees and rocks that needed to be removed. 

Crews also opted to install barriers and fences to catch any further debris at the province’s behest. 

For nearly three full months, construction crews have removed over 250 dangerous trees from the slopes as well as over 1,000 tonnes of rock rubble to make the corridor safe once again. 

The highway has been operating at a single-lane traffic capacity with intermittent closures and an active logging road detour prior to the long weekend, which has had an impact on the communities on either side of the afflicted corridor. 

Residents’ appointments, work lives and summer plans were all impacted by the closure. 

“It’s been a challenging season for people and businesses in the Alberni Valley and on the west coast, so it’s very welcome news that we can travel safely to visit family, make medical appointments and commute to and from work,” said Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim. 

“We’re also excited to welcome visitors for late summer and fall – one of the most beautiful times of the year to visit the Alberni Valley and the west coast.”

This announcement comes just before the last long weekend of the summer to the benefit of many Vancouver Islanders trying to sneak in one last vacation. 

“Highway 4 fully reopening is welcome news for our Island. The wildfire devastation and subsequent safety repairs on this vital corridor has been disruptive for everyone in the region,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“We thank the crews who worked tirelessly to make reopening possible, and the businesses, local governments and First Nations who waited patiently while we kept people and goods moving to and from communities on the west coast of the Island.” 

“We know how important it is for Highway 4 to be fully open in both directions to all travellers and are really pleased that will happen in advance of the busy Labour Day long weekend,” he added.

Going forward, once the highway is officially reopened, the detour signage and checkpoints will be dismantled, though the route will still be open for travellers to use if they choose to do so. 

mm
Curtis Blandy
curtis@victoriabuzz.com

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