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 Improvements project will contribute to a safer and more reliable connection between Port Alberni and the west coast of Vancouver Island.  

Current Travel Advisories

Planned Delays

  • Weekdays

    5 am to 7 pm
    The road will be open to single lane alternating traffic

    7 pm to 11 pm
    Traffic queues will be released at the top of each hour

  • Weekends

    5 am to 7 pm
    The road will be open to single lane alternating traffic

    7 pm to 11 pm
    Traffic queues will be released at the top of each hour

  • Nightly closures

    11 pm to 5 am
    Traffic queues will be released at 2am

Find the up-to-date project closure information:

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 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 1.5km.

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

The safety improvements over the 1.5 kilometre project length include:

  • 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 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 rock catchment ditch
  • Installing four cantilever bridge structures to straighten the alignment and reduce rock excavation volumes.
  • The provision of a rest area with 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 project budget has been increased to $53.96 million from $38.1 million and includes $13.5 million in federal funding under the New Building Canada Fund.

Status

Several factors increased the project budget and delayed completion. These 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 project is expected to be completed in summer 2022, and is currently approximately 85% complete.

  • Complex bluff-blasting completed in March 22
  • Extended daily closures have ended
  • Work through spring 2022 will transition towards lowering the existing highway grades and the installation of the new cantilever bridge structures at select areas

The ministry continues to work with Emil Anderson Construction in advancing the project to completion.

February 2022 - Highway 4 Kennedy Hill - Blasting Clean up

Project Benefits

  • The project will upgrade 1.5 kilometres of the Pacific Rim highway along Kennedy Hill adjacent to Kennedy Lake
  • The project will benefit the surrounding communities by stimulating economic development and tourism opportunities that rely on this vital corridor
  • Wider shoulders will improve safety for all users of the highway, including vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians
  • The project will benefit commercial and recreational vehicles with the reduced road grade and elimination of the overhanging rock
  • The new rest area and 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: