Cars on Beaver Creek Road wait to turn left onto River Road on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. The intersection has been contentious for years as residents have asked for a light or roundabout to improve traffic flow. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Upgrade on the books for contentious intersection in Port Alberni

Province promises survey, changes at Beaver Creek and River Roads in 2021

Traffic improvements could be coming for the intersection of Beaver Creek Road and River Road in Port Alberni.

Mayor Sharie Minions received the good news Sept. 16, 2020 during a virtual meeting with B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena, as part of the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities’ conference.

“We’ve been working with the province for quite a while, trying to get them to make some improvements on Johnston Road,” Minions said. Highway 4 travels the length of Johnston Road as it goes through Port Alberni, turns right onto River Road past Clutesi Haven Marina. Several kilometres past the city it becomes Pacific Rim Highway on the way to Ucluelet and Tofino.

Among the improvements the city has been lobbying for are better pedestrian safety on lower Johnston, and “significant” improvements to the intersection of River Road and Beaver Creek Road.

“Last year at UBCM we asked them to do a study to give some options. We were really impressed they actually did that right away, within a couple of months.”

Council recently received the study, although it hasn’t been made public yet by the provincial government, Minions said.

“We’ve had some input on it. This year at the UBCM, which is virtual and very strange, my meeting with Minister Claire Trevena was a couple of days ago. We asked them to pursue the Beaver Creek intersection as a priority. They committed to doing the land survey and preliminary plans in 2021 for making a change there.”

Minions would not reveal the type of change the ministry is studying for the intersection, saying it is up to the provincial government to make the announcement. “Following the land survey they will be doing quite a bit of public engagement as well. The city will support them in that, but it will be led by the province.

“At this point, it’s all paid for by the province. So we’re really thrilled with that.”

People at Clutesi Haven Marina celebrated the news on Thursday. “It has been needed for some time,” said William Ambrose, who recently opened Mr. Chips food truck at the marina. He said he has had a lot of time to watch traffic patterns at the intersection.

“I notice the wait times are longer than any other intersection in town.”

Traffic at that intersection has been a bone of contention with Alberni Valley residents for more than a decade. A traffic study was completed a number of years ago, and the provincial government said at the time there wasn’t enough traffic going through the intersection to warrant a change.

Minions said the focus has changed as a result of municipal government pressure, and improving traffic flow—especially for vehicles attempting to turn left from Beaver Creek to River Road, or out of the marina and onto River Road—is now a priority.

“They’ve indicated to us they recognize when you have a highway through your community, that the provincial government has a responsibility to make sure it works for your community. We’ve made that our top priority, and they’re really supporting that work.”

Any change to the intersection will be a significant improvement to traffic flow and for pedestrian safety and vehicle safety in the area, she added.

“Anyone who lives in that area knows it’s a challenge coming from Beaver Creek. It’s also an area where we’ve seen quite a few car accidents and a lot of almost-car accidents. A lot of near-misses happen in that area. It’s been a priority of council’s to improve the traffic flow.”

A change to the intersection will also allow visitors to stop at Clutesi Haven more easily, or turn around and return to Port Alberni, she added.

“We want to make the road flow better for tourists and for residents.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictPort AlberniTransportation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Turning left onto River Road (Highway 4) from Beaver Creek Road, or out of Clutesi Haven Marina will get easier, the Ministry of Transportation has decided. A land survey will take place in 2021 to ease traffic burdens at the intersection. September 2020 (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Just Posted

Chantal Schwark, left with Gerri Gill and Elle Schwark, 11 months old in the pumpkin patch at Arrowvale Farm. (SONJA DRINKWATER/ Alberni Valley News)
Final day for Arrowvale pumpkin patch is Oct. 25

Drive down to the patch and pick your own pumpkin

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read