Courier fed up with unexpected Highway 4 construction closures

Courier fed up with unexpected Highway 4 construction closures
WatchA courier servicing Vancouver Island's west coast says the lengthy unexpected delays on Highway 4, including two in the past week, are costly.

The owner of a courier company that services Vancouver Island’s west coast says he’s fed up with all the unexpected closures on Highway 4.

On May 11, the Kennedy Hill Construction project went sideways once again leaving the highway shut for hours.

And it was the second such closure in four days.

The Kennedy Hill construction project is widening a 1.5 kilometre stretch of Highway 4.

But the mounting unexpected delays are frustrating for those who rely on the road.

“Since they started dozens. I can’t even keep track anymore. Two in the last week,” said Ryan Whackett, owner of Westcoast Connect.

Both Friday and yesterday, Highway 4 was closed for hours after crews ended up with more boulders on the road than expected and needed extra time to remove them.

“It set one of my drivers back eight hours which is [a lot of] overtime,” said Whackett.

And that was just yesterday’s closure. An expensive outlay for a courier company that does same-day deliveries between Nanaimo and the Island’s west coast.

“Like I have to pay all this overtime but I’m not the one messing this stuff up so this bothers me too. Is anyone going to compensate me for this?” asked Whackett.

Ucluelet’s mayor says the unexpected closures are already hurting essential traffic and he worries it may do more harm as COVID-19 restrictions lift in the coming weeks and months.

“As people decide where they’re going to explore on this wonderful island, if people are not coming to the region because of inconsistent closures on the highway I believe that is something that will not sit well with a lot of the businesses on the west coast that are currently struggling,” said Mayor Mayco NoĂ«l.

In a statement, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says it understands people’s frustrations “and the extended closures are not ideal.  The ministry has taken immediate action to review and investigate these incidents and address this matter with the contractor.”

Ryan Whackett says when there are delays communication should also be quicker.

“Monday I knew by somebody in Tofino quarter to 11 but nothing was posted up by Drive BC until almost noon so that makes a huge difference.”

Whackett says he’s hoping there will be fewer roadblocks in the future as he works to get his customers parcels delivered on time.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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