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Blasting work mishap cuts off Vancouver Island highway

DCN-JOC News Services
Blasting work mishap cuts off Vancouver Island highway
B.C. MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE - Crews work to build a temporary bridge on Highway 4 in B.C. after a rock slide triggered by blasting work cut off the only route to the island communities of Tofino and Ucluelet.

TOFINO, B.C. – Crews on Vancouver Island worked over the weekend to install a pre-fabricated, 20-metre, single-lane bridge at the site of a landslide near Kennedy Hill.

The damage to Highway 4 was caused by an “unexpectedly large volume of rock falling on rain-saturated ground” during a scheduled blast early on Thursday, Jan. 23, as part of the Highway 4 – Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project. The highway was closed to traffic at the time of the blast.

Kelowna-based Emil Anderson Construction, the contractor tasked with the highway project, worked non-stop through the night to build up the road base after a portion of the shoulder and travelling surface sloughed away.

“The ministry thanks Emil Anderson Construction and its crew for the round-the-clock effort to reopen the highway,” read a government statement last week. “While some progress was made, the base did not build as quickly as project engineers had estimated. Overnight, the decision was made to bridge the damaged section of highway to open it as soon as possible.”

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.

The Highway 4 – Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement 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.

The $38.1 million project includes widening the highway, horizontal realignments to remove blind corners, vertical realignments to reduce steep grades, and removing overhead rock to accommodate work and reduce hazards

The project was expected to be completed this summer.

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