Years after construction commenced, the Highway 4 Kennedy Lake Project reached a major milestone this weekend, with traffic once again flowing in both directions.
While it might have taken several hours in delays just to get through the 1.5-kilometre stretch during the last five years, today, it takes just 90 seconds.
“It’s been a challenge for sure, and I’m just so excited that it’s now finally coming to a close,” Tofino resident David Corbett told CHEK News Sunday.
The extensive project began in May 2018 and was supposed to take about 18 months and cost $38 million, but major problems with rock blasting, along with delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, put it way behind schedule and over budget.
The final cost is $54 million, with contractor Emil Anderson Construction announcing on Facebook that Friday was the last day of planned road closures and single-lane alternating traffic. They said aside from some minor work to be finished this spring, the project is now complete.
Charles McDiarmid with the Tofino-based Wickaninnish Inn is thrilled.
“It’s a red-letter day,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for years, at least, for this to be done, so it’s a bonus for all of us.”
From those who live nearby to tourists who travel to places like Tofino and Ucluelet, there is relief that the long waits are a thing of the past.
“Big road construction project and we kept looking for it, couldn’t find it, smooth sailing,” said David Yendall, who’s visiting from Toronto, Ont.
“Getting out it makes getting out here a lot easier and quicker, and not as many waits or planning,” exclaimed Michelle Fraser from Kimberley, B.C.
The contractor says there will be some minor traffic delays during the spring as line painting still needs to be done and the lookout needs to be completed, but the major bulk of the project and the traffic delays are a thing of the past.
“The road has been improving steadily over the years, and it’s a lot better highway and a lot safer highway than it used to be,” added McDiarmid.
The B.C. government has more information about the project on its website.