UPDATE: Highway 4 to open to essential traffic only

Published on January 23, 2020

(B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure photo)

Kennedy Lake, BC — 

Update – Jan. 24, 2020 10:00AM, from BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

PORT ALBERNI - Highway 4 at Kennedy Hill will reopen to essential travel only between noon and 8 p.m. today, Friday, Jan. 24.

Travel will be restricted to passenger vehicles and light pickups only.

Vehicles will be screened at the Tofino/Ucluelet junction and at Sproat Lake.

Larger vehicles will be turned around. Heavy loads, trucks with duallies, and vehicles towing trailers will not be let through.

Motorists are advised to obey the instructions of traffic control personnel.

This is a limited opening for essential travel only. Once these vehicles have cleared, a portable bridge will be installed to open the highway to regular traffic as quickly and safely as possible.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure estimates a lengthy closure to install the bridge.

The ministry will update the estimated closure window for the bridge installation as soon as possible.

The contractor worked non-stop through the night to build up the road base after a portion of the shoulder and travelling surface sloughed away. The ministry thanks Emil Anderson Construction and its crew for the round-the-clock effort to reopen the highway.

While some progress was made, the base did not build as quickly as project engineers had estimated. Overnight, the decision was made to bridge the damaged section of highway to open it as soon as possible.

The damage to Highway 4 was caused by an unexpectedly large volume of rock falling on rain-saturated ground during a scheduled blast early on Thursday, Jan. 23, as part of the Highway 4 - Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project. The highway was closed to traffic at the time of the blast.

The ministry thanks area residents and other people who rely on the highway for their patience and understanding.

When completed later this year, the Highway 4 - Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement Project will create a safer, more reliable connection between Port Alberni and the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Learn More:

* Call 1 855 451-7152 to listen to the travel information hotline message, updated daily during construction.

* General project information and traffic schedules are available online: www.gov.bc.ca/highway4kennedyhill

* Follow @DriveBC and #BCHwy4 on Twitter, and visit: www.drivebc.ca

 

UPDATE from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, 3:30 p.m., Jan. 23, 2020

During a scheduled blast overnight at the Highway 4/Kennedy Hill Safety Improvements project, rockfall from the blast resulted in damage to the road structure.

The ministry has completed a geotechnical site assessment, and the area has been deemed safe for repairs to proceed, which are now underway.

The workplan is to restore highway access by excavating the damaged road bed and replacing with a driveable surface.

Rock embankment fill is actively being hauled and placed to build the damaged road area back up to highway grade.

The contractor is fully engaged in reconstructing and stabilizing the slope, and will work around the clock to complete the repair as quickly as possible.

Currently, Highway 4 remains closed and will remain closed through this evening.  We do not have an estimated time for reopening at this point. The Ministry will continue to provide updates via DriveBC.

Local governments and First Nations have been updated. As well, first responders have been contacted and have been notified that emergency vehicles can be accommodated through the site if necessary.

Traffic control personnel are turning drivers around at the Tofino/Ucluelet junction and Sproat Lake.

The ministry will continue to provide updates as work to restore highway access continues. The next update will be at 6 p.m.

Drivers are advised to check DriveBC for updates.

 

From the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

During a scheduled blast overnight at the Highway 4/Kennedy Hill Safety Improvements project, rockfall from the blast resulted in damage to the road structure.

The ministry has completed a geotechnical site assessment, and the area has been deemed safe for repairs to proceed.

The workplan is to restore highway access by excavating the damaged road bed and replacing with a driveable surface.

Work is being carried out by the project contractor, with all equipment, personal and materials already on site.

The ministry will continue to provide updates as work to restore highway access continues.

Currently, Highway 4 remains closed with no estimated time for reopening at this point. Traffic control personnel are turning drivers around at the Tofino/Ucluelet junction and Sproat Lake.

The next update will be at 3 p.m.

Drivers are advised to check DriveBC for updates.

 

Road failure closes Highway 4 in both directions

A construction incident has caused the full closure of Highway 4 West (Tofino Highway) for most of the day. Drive BC is reporting that an incident that occurred late in the evening on Wednesday, Jan. 22 has damaged the road to the extent that it will be closed at least until 5:00 p.m. Jan. 23.

In a social media post, Ucluelet Mayor Mayco Noel quotes a source at the Ministry of Transportation, “Overnight during a scheduled blast the rock that came down onto the road compromised an existing retaining wall along the highway. A section of the highway has failed and we have lost a travel lane.”

The ministry representative goes on to say that crews and engineers are onsite to determine an immediate repair.

DriveBC is projecting a 5 pm opening, but this will be updated once the engineering assessment is completed. Traffic control is being set up at the Tofino/Ucluelet junction and at Sproat Lake, turning traffic around.
The road will remain closed in both directions while assessments are done and repairs are made.

DriveBC will update their information at 12:00 p.m., Jan. 23.

The Kennedy Hill Project began in September 2018. Expected to take two years to complete, the project involves rock blasting that will widen some of the most dangerous sections of Highway 4.

The Kennedy Hill construction site has scheduled closures at daily regular intervals to allow for rock blasting and debris removal. The work is scheduled for completion in Sept. 2020.