(Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure photo)

(Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure photo)

Highway closure to block access to Vancouver Island’s Pacific Rim next week

Hwy. 4 to Ucluelet and Tofino to be shut down in both directions from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 23.

Access to Ucluelet and Tofino will be be severely restricted for most of a day next week

B.C.’s ministry of transportation and infrastructure has announced that Highway 4 — the only road connecting the Tofino-Ucluelet region to the rest of Vancouver Island — will be shut down in both directions from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23.

The ministry says the closure is needed to remove a large rock bluff as part of the provincial and federal government’s $38 million Kennedy Hill Improvement project.

“This 10-hour closure is required for crews to undertake one of the most complex blasts on the project. The daylight closure will allow workers time to prepare the road beneath the blast area, and to safely remove loose rock immediately following the blast,” the announcement reads.

Ucluelet mayor Mayco Noel said that removing the large rock bluff could catapult the project forward.

“There’s one nasty, big rock in question that these guys need to overcome and once they overcome this, it is going to be easy street,” he said. “I’ve been led to believe that there will be the possibility of less closures here if they can get around this obstacle…This is something to celebrate. If they can get this hazard dealt with, it’s going to be a good thing for the West Coast. It makes us get a little bit closer to the finish line.”

Work on the project, which is focused on upgrading a roughly 1.5-kilometre stretch of highway near Kennedy Lake, began in 2018, bringing daily closures to West Coast commuters. The project was initially expected to be complete by the summer of 2020 but has since blown past that timeline. A firm new completion date has not been announced.

READ MORE: Highway closures hit travellers heading in and out of Tofino and Ucluelet

The current closure schedule, which includes four-hour closures from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each weekday, is expected to resume on Wednesday, March 24, according to the ministry.

The Highway 4 Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement Project closure schedule is attached for the period of February 22 to…

Posted by EAC Hwy 4 Kennedy Hill Project Updates on Monday, February 22, 2021

“When completed, 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,” the announcement reads. “The ministry thanks motorists and residents on both sides of the closure for their patience.”

Concerns have been raised around how the March 23 closure could impact a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for seniors in Ucluelet scheduled for March 24, but Noel assured multiple agencies are having “conversations in the background” to ensure that clinic goes as planned.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Tofino,Transportationucluelet

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dancers, signholders show support for Fairy Creek in Victoria

A flash mob at the legislature and signs on an overpass

Wild Wise Sooke is urging the public to be bear aware. (Photo by Brian Rundle)
Wild Wise Sooke reminds public to be aware of bears

Residents asked to be mindful of their garbage habits, not to draw in wildlife

Staff celebrate the opening of the Vancouver Island Cancer Centre adjacent to Royal Jubilee Hospital in March 2001. (Photo provided by Provincial Health Services Authority)
Victoria cancer centre marks two decades of saving lives

BC Cancer – Victoria is B.C.’s second largest cancer centre

“Racing Classics” by John Horton depicts sailboats near Trial Island off the coast of Oak Bay. The painting will be featured in his <em>Maritime Impressions</em> exhibit at the Winchester Gallery until April 14.
Greater Victoria galleries beckon spring with vibrant, whimsical nature scenes

At The Galleries: look at what’s on display this month

Katie Hamilton is one of three Victoria residents receiving a $10,000 podcast production grant from Telus Storyhive. Her podcast, Her Love of Sport, will take listeners through stories from women in the sports industry. (Courtesy of Katie Hamilton)
Three local podcasts coming to Victoria following Telus Storyhive grants

Victoria podcasts chosen out of 700 applications to receive $10,000

A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dancers, signholders show support for Fairy Creek in Victoria

A flash mob at the legislature and signs on an overpass

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Most Read