Highway 4 closed in both directions as rain adds ‘risk of falling debris’

Highway 4 closed in both directions as rain adds 'risk of falling debris'
Highway 4 is pictured on July 12.

The province has closed Highway 4 along Cameron Lake in both directions Wednesday morning due to overnight rainfall.

According to DriveBC, rain causes “increased risk of debris fall” along the highway, where repairs and maintenance work are currently underway following a damaging wildfire in early July.

On Wednesday morning, the province said there was no estimated time for reopening the highway, though it noted it would likely remain closed for the entire day.

“Current safe work procedures require that if 10mm of rain falls over a 12-hour period that the road must be closed, rock mesh blankets lowered, and crews evacuated from site for a minimum 24-hour period as the risk of falling debris increases,” reads an update on the Ministry of Transportation website.

“We do not anticipate a reopening before midnight of August 9.”

Travel woes

Highway 4 is the only paved roadway that connects Vancouver Island with the southwest communities of Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino.

The highway was completely closed to traffic from June 6 to 22, largely because there were concerns that debris created by the wildfire – including rocks and tree roots – would spill onto the road.

Highway 4 reopened to limited, single-lane alternating traffic on June 23, with two periods in the day to let traffic through in between construction.

The construction has caused headaches for travellers trying to make it past Cameron Lake, with one local telling CHEK News that if they didn’t make the morning time slot to get through the construction zone, they’d be stuck waiting all day.

“It’s just hard,” said Port Alberni resident Cathy Ollech on Thursday.

“It extends our day from what’s an eight, nine hour day to 12 to 14 hours,” she said.

The highway is expected to reopen to two-lane traffic later this month.

RELATED: Highway 4 reopens after strong winds, crane malfunction: ministry

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