EDITORIAL: New highway needed now

The time to talk about the new route passed a decade ago. It’s time to act.

Is the provincial government giving Port Alberni lip service with its promise to initiate a business case review on an alternate highway route? We fervently hope not.

It was more than coincidental that one week after transportation and infrastructure minister Todd Stone announced B.C. would spend $100,000 on the study, Highway 4 east of Port Alberni was closed for nearly three hours due to a logging truck crash.

Thankfully, no lives were lost when the truck lost its load on an S-curve on the highway, at a point where no detours could be expected. A barricade went up at the bottom of the Hump as RCMP prevented people from leaving town until the mess was cleaned up.

Determining whether this is a regular occurrence or a rarity is a moot point: it shut down our only way into and out of the city, and it’s not the first time this has happened.

The late Charlie Haggard proved there is a viable alternate route into the Alberni Valley, and his detractors have identified another. Every time the road is forced to close due to an accident or weather is more proof that a second route is needed.

Can you imagine what Highway 4 will be like if the Huu-ay-aht/ Steelhead LNG plans go through and we only have one highway? Or if our population grows even a few percentage points?

The time to talk about the new route passed a decade ago. It’s time to act.

— Alberni Valley News