Drivers can once again get in and out of Tofino-Ucluelet as a planned 24-hour closure of Hwy. 4 wrapped up on Sunday afternoon.
The road was shut down in both directions from 11 a.m. Feb 22 to just after 11 a.m. Feb. 23 as crews work to remove a temporary bridge that was installed on Hwy. 4 after a blasting accident caused a rockslide last month.
The blasting was being done as part of the provincial and federal government’s $38 million Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement Project.
B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced on Feb. 4 that Hwy. 4 at Kennedy Hill will be shut down on Feb. 22 at 11 a.m. and is expected to reopen on Feb. 23 at 11 a.m.
“This 24-hour closure is required for crews to remove the specialized 20-metre, single-lane temporary bridge structure installed earlier this month after a large volume of rock damaged the road,” the announcement read. “The bridge removal and permanent slope repair at this location are necessary for blasting to continue, allowing the project to stay on schedule for completion by the end of summer 2020.”
The ministry added that the 24-hour closure was scheduled to occur over a weekend to avoid blocking weekday commuters and delivery trucks.
“The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure thanks motorists and residents on both sides of the closure for their patience. When completed later this year, the Highway 4-Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement Project will create a safer and more reliable connection between Port Alberni and the west coast of Vancouver Island,” the announcement reads.
The $38 million project is scheduled to wrap up this summer, though Ucluelet mayor Mayco Noel has expressed doubt that it will be completed on time because of several construction mishaps that have occurred, particurlarly the blasting accident that caused the temporary bridge to be needed.
A ministry spokesperson told the Westerly News that the construction project is still expected to wrap up this summer, however its $38 million budget is under review.
“With repairs to the slope and the removal of the temporary bridge planned for later in the month, the costs associated haven’t been finalized,” the spokesperson said.