A rock bluff was blasted off Hwy. 4 on March 23 as part of Kennedy Hill’s ongoing construction. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

A rock bluff was blasted off Hwy. 4 on March 23 as part of Kennedy Hill’s ongoing construction. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

Planned Pacific Rim Highway explosion deemed a success

Work continues to improve access to Tofino and Ucluelet via Highway 4

A planned explosion that shut down Hwy. 4 at Kennedy Hill for roughly ten hours on March 23 was a success, according to B.C.’s ministry of transportation and infrastructure.

The ministry had warned West Coast residents and visitors that the highway would be shut down in both directions from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to allow crews to “blast a significant rock bluff” as part of the Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement Project.

“It was one of the more complex blasts on site and it was successful, with all of the rock intended for removal coming down as planned and the highway reopening at 5:45pm,” a ministry spokesperson told the Westerly News via email. “Approximately 200 cubic metres, or about 25 standard highway dump trucks full of rock was removed.”

The Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement Project began in 2018 and is aimed at increasing commuter safety on a 1.5 kilometre stretch of the highway that connects Tofino-Ucluelet to the rest of Vancouver Island.

The project was initially expected to cost $38 million and to be completed by the summer of 2020, but a series of blasting mishaps along with construction pauses due to COVID-19 saw it blow past its expected deadline and the budget is now in flux.

The ministry expects to release more information about the project’s timeline and budget in the coming weeks.

“The Highway 4 Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project is a tremendously important project for people who live, work, or visit Tofino, Ucluelet, and the surrounding area,” the spokesperson said.

“We have been working closely with our contractor to keep the project moving along safely and quickly as we know that the local community is looking forward to seeing the benefits from this project as soon as possible.”

Commuters are reminded to check www.drivebc.ca for updates and more information about the project can be found at www.facebook.com/eac.bc.ca.kennedy.hill.

Port AlberniTofino,ucluelet