Blasting work causes three hour delay on Highway 4


Drivers heading to the west coast Monday might have known about the planned 4-hour highway closure between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., but they weren’t expecting to sit an extra three hours due to a blasting problem.

Motorists tell CHEK News they weren’t told what was happening until 5 pm, two hours into the extra closure.

There is no cell service in the area that would have allowed travellers to check for highway updates — cell service is planned for the future.

“We’re all a little frustrated and it’s an ongoing challenge but yeah we do hear about it,” said Tourism Tofino Director Charles McDiarmid. McDiarmid is also Managing Director of The Wickaninnish Inn.

“The first thing guests say when they arrive is Thank God we’re here,” added McDiarmid.

The highway closures for construction of the Highway 4 – Kennedy Hill Safety Improvements project are usually well-planned and noted on websites like DriveBC and but from time to time and again on Monday the usual 4-hour planned closure for work at Kennedy Lake ended up being a lot longer.

Highway 4 was scheduled to re-open at 3 p.m. Monday afternoon but was closed until 6 p.m. because of a blasting problem — caused by two massive boulders had fallen onto the road and had to be cleared, CHEK News has learned.

“I drove by this morning and that’s a huge accomplishment for that project,” said Ucluelet Mayor Mayco Noel who has criticized the delays in the past but says Monday’s will be worth it in the long run.

“Those two big boulders we’ve been looking at don’t exist anymore. Those crews are making a lot of headway in the last couple of months,” he said.

And it’s not just tourists headed west to enjoy some of B.C.’s best beaches who are facing delays but also delivery drivers and west coast residents needing to head the other way for appointments and shopping.

“It’s affecting a lot of people and I hate to say it but we are getting kind of numb to this, it’s just an ongoing situation and for sure frustrating, not a lot we can do about it,” said McDiarmid.

The project budget has increased from the initial $38.1 million to $53.96 million.

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Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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