Commuters should brace for delays along Highway 4 at Kennedy Hill as extensive, ongoing road upgrades near completion, according to the B.C. government.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says the Kennedy Hill project, which started in May 2018, is entering the final stages of construction with increased traffic delays returning Tuesday, Sept. 20 through the fall.
According to the ministry, hourly closures with top-of-the-hour releases will occur daily from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Single-lane alternating traffic will also be implemented seven days a week from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., as nightly closures continue from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. with a release to clear traffic at 2 a.m.
The ministry says hourly closures will provide crews with up to 45-minute work windows throughout the day, speeding up road profile blasting, rock and slope stabilization, foundation building and other work.
Commuters should also note that the Kennedy Hill section of Highway 4 will be closed to traffic in both directions on three consecutive nights, Sept. 21, 22 and 23 from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., with no release of queued traffic.
“This will allow crews to place cantilever girders and to complete deck-panel placement,” the ministry said. Emergency vehicles, however, will still be able to pass.
In a news release Friday, the ministry says the Kennedy Hill project, which stretches 1.5 kilometres long, will be “substantially complete” this fall as finishing touches outside the roadway continue throughout the winter.
“Once complete, the project will create a safer, more reliable connection between Port Alberni and the west coast of Vancouver Island,” it added in the release.
Highway 4 is the only east-west corridor on the island servicing the west coast communities of Ucluelet and Tofino, as well as the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve at Long Beach.
The government says the project budget, initially $38.1 million, has increased to $53.96 million and includes $13.5 million in federal funding under the New Building Canada Fund.