Highway 4 - Kennedy Hill Safety Improvements

Photo of Highway 4 - Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement Project location south of Port Alberni

The Highway 4 Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project is now complete, making travel safer and more reliable for people who live and visit destinations on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Last Updated: July 14, 2023

The Highway 4 - Kennedy Hill Safety Improvements project contributes to a safer and more reliable connection between Port Alberni and the west coast of Vancouver Island. 

The Pacific Rim 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. This is a critical route for moving goods, linking communities, and supporting a thriving tourism industry in the region.

The project is located adjacent to Kennedy Lake approximately 14km northeast of the Tofino/Ucluelet Highway 4 junction. The project started at the bottom/south end of Kennedy Hill at the TR19 Creek culvert, and continued up the hill towards Port Alberni for a distance of approximately 1.5km.

Map of Highway 4 - Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement Project south of Port Alberni

The safety improvements over the 1.5 kilometre project length included:

  • Widening the highway to accommodate two full lanes and 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% grade along the hill
  • Blasting and excavating bedrock to accommodate the above, and eliminating the existing overhanging rock above the road surface that was a hazard to larger transport vehicles navigating the corridor
  • Providing for rock slope stabilization and slope meshing to mitigate rock fall onto the highway, including a rock catchment ditch
  • Straightening the alignment and reducing rock excavation volumes
  • The provision of a view point on the lake side of the new highway, including an intersection to safely access the new facility by passenger vehicle, RV, bus, and transport truck

Project cost

The final cost of the project was $53.96 million, including a provincial contribution of $40.5 million and includes $13.5 million in federal funding under the New Building Canada Fund.


The project was completed in spring 2023.

Factors that delayed completion included:

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Repairs to Highway 4 resulting from blasting damage at the project site in January 2020
  • Increased environmental protections
  • The need for smaller blasts due to the nature of the fractured bedrock

The ministry worked closely with Emil Anderson Construction to deliver this project. The Province engaged stakeholders and Indigenous communities to accommodate the changing scheduling needs of the project and avoid extended daily closures.

February 2022 - Highway 4 Kennedy Hill - Blasting Clean up

Project Benefits

  • Upgraded 1.5 kilometres of the Pacific Rim highway along Kennedy Hill adjacent to Kennedy Lake
  • Stimulated economic development and tourism opportunities in the surrounding communities that rely on this vital corridor
  • Wider shoulders to improve safety for all users of the highway, including vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians
  • Reduced road grade and elimination of the overhanging rock better for commercial and recreational vehicles
  • The new view point will be a benefit to area tourism

Photo Gallery

Public Consultation

Community Information Sessions were held on January 23, 2018 in Tofino and January 24, 2018 in Ucluelet.

Approximately 134 people attended the two sessions. We received more than 70 pieces of feedback. The majority show support for the project.

Information session materials: