Detour around Highway 4 is closed until 9 p.m. Friday

Detour around Highway 4 is closed until 9 p.m. Friday

Daly’s Auto Centre in Youbou is the last chance for gas for more than 100 kilometres on the Highway 4 detour.

The logging road is the only open road to Port Alberni.

The traffic has been non-stop, according to gas station attendant Jason Currie.

“This has been insanely busy. The moment it picked up there was a marked change in activity,” Currie said.

The detour winds through Youbou and into Port Alberni, but the road isn’t made for all this traffic.

A truck left the road Wednesday and drove off the berm, next to Francis Lake.

It’s why the province shut the detour down Friday, from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m.

An eight-hour closure that many are trying to beat, including Hazel Julaily.

She and her boyfriend are driving to Tofino to spend the weekend camping.

“I do know that we are going through a logging road. So that’s why we are stopping here to make sure we have a full tank of gas. Food, we have no problem. Lots of that. So we’re just trying to beat the one o’clock closure,” Julaily said.

Mechanics in Lake Cowichan have been hit with dozens of vehicles damaged by driving on the rugged logging road.

“We have a lot of people looking to get flat tires fixed,” Currie said.

The mechanic at Daly’s Auto Centre says the pickup truck he’s working on needs to have its brakes replaced as soon as possible.

“I think he’s trying to get back to Tofino, he’s got a load of groceries. Unfortunately one caliper fell off on him on the back road. Lost most of his brakes,” Currie added.

Patrick Miller, co-owner, Cassy’s Coffee House said many people taking the detour may not be as prepared as they should be.

“The ones that have fancy cars are a little unprepared for it. They’ve got summer tires on, and the road is very rough based on it. They’ve kept it up, but it’s still a logging road,” Miller said.

Catherine Cade is returning from a week-long school trip in Tofino.

She says it’s a tough drive, but possible if you are prepared.

“It was super dusty. That was the hardest part. The first half of the road was so dusty that you couldn’t really see anything. That was the worst. But for the most part people were driving really safe,” Cade said.

Emergency vehicles, and commercial trucks will be given priority once the road reopens.

The Ministry of Transportation recommends that anyone travelling along the detour travel only during the daylight hours.

WATCH: Precarious conditions on Highway 4 detour spark multiple accidents and growing frustration

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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