A large portion of Highway 4 is closed in both directions Friday between Port Alberni and Tofino due to fallen trees on hydro lines, which also cut the power to thousands in the area.
The transportation ministry took to Twitter at 6:40 a.m. saying the highway, the only route to and from the Vancouver Island communities of Tofino and Ucluelet, was closed for more than 50 kilometres westbound starting at the Taylor River rest area.
Road crews are on scene and an assessment is in progress, according to DriveBC in an alert.
⛔ CLOSED – #BCHwy4 is closed between the Taylor River rest area and the Tofino-Ucluelet Highway due to downed trees and hydro lines. Crews are on scene. Assessment is in progress. #VanIsle #VancouverIsland #Tofino #PortAlberni
ℹ️ For more info:https://t.co/TMN3pWfEsx
— DriveBC (@DriveBC) December 23, 2022
The closure comes as more than 4,500 BC Hydro customers in both Tofino and Ucluelet have been in the dark since around 1 a.m. Friday due to a transmission circuit failure and downed hydro lines.
However, the company says its crews are on scene working to restore the power, adding, “if repairs go as planned and no further damage is found, we expect power to be restored by 2:30 p.m.”
Updates will be posted here.
Update: This outage was caused by a number of downed trees on our line. Crews are on-site removing the trees and making repairs. If repairs go as planned & no further damage is found, we expect power to be restored by 2:30 p.m. Updates: https://t.co/t61iwWPUGH #Tofino #Ucluelet https://t.co/6eU0gD0xoO
— BC Hydro (@bchydro) December 23, 2022
Extreme weather prompts Highway 4 travel advisory
A travel advisory is also in effect for a nearly 110-kilometre stretch of Highway 4 between the Beaufort Picnic Site at Cameron Lake, east of Port Alberni, and the Tofino-Ucluelet Highway due to the extreme weather forecast, DriveBC says.
Drivers across much of southern B.C. are being asked to avoid non-essential trips as snow and freezing rain threaten to close highways, knock out power and make travel dangerous.
Environment Canada predicted heavy snow, ice pellets and freezing rain in Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley starting Thursday night through Christmas Eve, followed by heavy rain as temperatures spike upwards.
Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Rob Fleming said travel by road on Vancouver Island, the south coast, or to and from the Interior should be avoided “unless absolutely necessary.”
He said the significance of the incoming weather front can’t be overstated.
With files from The Canadian Press