The summer tourism season has hit on the west coast and travellers on Highway 4 are seeing some big changes along Kennedy Lake.

Huge sections of a cliff are being blasted away to make room for a much wider and straighter road where it used to be dangerously narrow.

“There used to be no shoulders in the area and some significant rock overhang so really it was a priority for the Ministry to address one of the pinch points we do have existing on the corridor and improving the safety on that section,” said Janelle Staite, deputy regional director for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

The $38.1 million dollar project is on budget and on time, due for completion late next summer.

In the meantime, 130 Olympic sized swimming pools worth of material is being blasted away to make room for the road. That part of the project is about half finished.

“So over this 1.5 kilometre section, we are widening the existing lanes. The existing lanes are fairly narrow. The new lanes will be 3.6 metres which is a standard highway lane,” added Staite. “We’ll have metre-and-a-half shoulders as well.”

It’s been a deadly stretch of highway including a crash that killed two well known Tofino paramedics in October 2010 when their ambulance went off the road at night and into Kennedy Lake.

The mayor of Ucluelet says the inconvenience of construction will be worth it for locals and tourists

“It was just a terrible spot, traditionally when you’re talking about RV traffic and commercial traffic it was a really dangerous spot on the entire road so it’s going to be one less hazard getting here,” said Mayco Noel.

There will also be a new rest area overlooking Kennedy Lake.

Graham Cox