Highway 4 closure, though planned, still catches some off guard

Highway 4 closure, though planned, still catches some off guard
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WatchHighway 4 is closed for 24 hours while crews replace a temporary bridge at the construction site near Kennedy Lake

Highway 4 between Port Alberni and Vancouver Island’s west coast was closed again today.

This time, the shut down was planned to remove a temporary bridge after a washout last month.

Some Russian tourists from the Seattle area were among those who didn’t learn about the Highway 4 closure until it was too late.

It will prevent them from reaching the Black Rock hotel in Ucluelet, where they have a reservation tonight.

“If we had known about it we maybe go something earlier and get there before it closed but now I don’t know,” said Alex Samutin.

“Is it possible to take a small ferry or something else to get there?” he asked.

The Highway 4 closure is for 24 hours — from Saturday morning until Sunday morning — as construction crews remove a temporary bridge.

It was installed last month as an interim solution after blasting for the $38 million highway widening project went wrong and led to a closure 30 hours beyond what was initially expected.
And even though today’s planned closure was advertised, it still comes at a cost.

“We knew it was coming and so that’s a good thing that we’re able to plan proactively for this,” said Josie Osborne, Tofino’s Mayor.

“It’s always tough to have no highway open to us for 24 hours and knowing that affects the flow of goods and people between our communities and the rest of the world but we’re good at making the most of it.”

Ucluelet’s mayor says while those in his community are aware of this closure, he continues to lobby for better internet and phone coverage on the highway for the unexpected or extended closures.

“Communication, communication. We can’t have enough of it and when we’re stranded on the side of the highway for a few hours at a time it just really gets old,” said Mayco Noel.

An unfortunate situation for the Russian tourists and others who are stuck.

“Extremely disappointing,” said Samutin.

“We’re actually losing the whole day. Today and tomorrow morning.”

The Highway 4 construction project is due to be completed by the end of this summer.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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