Final preparations are underway to reopen Highway 4 between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni this weekend.
The highway has been closed since June 6, 2023 when a wildfire along Cameron Bluffs near Angel Rock ballooned in size and debris started falling on the roadside.
The next update on the highway is expected at noon on Friday, June 23. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure posted online that the highway is not expected to open before June 24-25, and no time has been decided on when it will open to single lane alternating traffic.
The Cameron Bluffs fire is still listed at 229 hectares but is under control. According to BC Wildfire Service crews continue to patrol the fire and extinguish hot spots “in accessible terrain.”
On Highway 4, all segments of a mesh curtain erected to protect cars from rock falling from the bluff have been tested in anticipation of the road opening.
Drivers are being warned that the single lane alternating section will be approximately two kilometres long. Unlike the Kennedy Lake construction project, when road closures or traffic interruptions took place on a schedule, traffic queueing on Highway 4 will be managed without preset times. Drivers can expect long lineups, especially when the road first opens.
The detour route through Lake Cowichan will remain open until Highway 4 is restored to two-way traffic around Cameron Bluffs, most likely in mid-July, according to the transportation ministry.
To reduce congestion on Highway 4 around Cameron Lake once the road reopens to single lane traffic Cathedral Grove, Cameron Lake and Beaufort Picnic Area will all be closed temporarily. Cathedral Grove is part of MacMillan Provincial Park, and while BC Parks notes in its advisory about the closure that the park did not sustain any damage due to the wildfire, the park will remain closed until the highway is fully open.
Updates to the park can be found online at bcparks.ca/active-advisories/.
For updates on road conditions, check DriveBC.ca or travel advisories at www.tranbc.ca/current-travel-advisories/.