Construction work along Highway 4 near Kennedy Hill is now underway, which will result in daily road closures.
From Sept. 18 to Sept. 22, and from Sept. 25 to Oct. 4, Highway 4 will be closed to traffic at Kennedy Hill from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The two daytime one-hour closures will then continue throughout the off-peak season (Sept. 16 until June 16), excluding long weekends. There will be an extra closure on Sept. 30 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. for BC Hydro relocation work. A full regional power outage is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. that same day.
The current nighttime closures will also continue.
For the full traffic stoppages scheduled, visit the B.C. government website. There are also message boards on both sides of Kennedy Hill.
The full construction project is located adjacent to Kennedy Lake approximately 14-kilometres northeast of the Tofino/Ucluelet Highway 4 junction. The project starts at the bottom/south end of Kennedy Hill at the TR19 Creek culvert and continues up the hill towards Port Alberni for a distance of approximately 1.5 km.
The safety improvements over the 1.5-kilometre project include:
- Widening the highway to accommodate two full lanes and 1.5-metre paved shoulders, including roadside barrier along the lakeside of the highway
- Horizontal realignments to the highway to remove the sharp blind corners, straightening the road and eliminating the 30km/hr speed advisory curves
- Vertical realignments to the highway to reduce the existing 12 per cent grade along sections of the hill down to 9 per cent at the bottom and 4 per cent at the top.
- Blasting and excavating bedrock to accommodate the above, and eliminating the existing overhanging rock above the road surface that is a hazard to larger transport vehicles currently requiring them to cross centreline
- Providing for rock slope stabilization and slope meshing to mitigate rock fall onto the highway, including a wide rock catchment ditch
- The provision of a rest area with viewpoint utilizing a portion of the to-be abandoned old highway, including an intersection to safely access the new facility by passenger vehicle, RV, bus, and even by transport truck.
The total cost of the safety improvements is $38.1 million, with $24.6 million coming from the provincial government and $13.5 million from the federal government.
Highway 4 is the only east-west corridor on Vancouver Island servicing the west coast communities of Ucluelet and Tofino as well as the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve at Long Beach.