Blasting works cause 3 hours delay, but “those two big rocks no longer exist”

Drivers heading to the West Coast on Monday might have been aware of the planned 4-hour highway closure between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., but they weren’t expecting to be seated three more hours due of a blasting problem.

Motorists tell CHEK News they weren’t told what was happening until 5 p.m., two hours after the extra closure.

There is no cell service in the area that would have allowed travelers to check for highway updates – cell service is planned for the future.

“We’re all a little frustrated and it’s an ongoing challenge, but yeah, we hear about it,” Tourism Tofino director Charles McDiarmid said. McDiarmid is also general manager of The Wickaninnish Inn.

“The first thing guests say when they arrive is thank goodness we’re here,” McDiarmid added.

Freeway closures for construction of the Highway 4 – Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement Project are usually well planned and noted on websites like DriveBC and toursimtofino.com, but occasionally on Mondays, the usual scheduled 4 hour closure for work at Kennedy Lake ended up being much longer.

Highway 4 was due to reopen at 3 p.m. Monday afternoon, but was closed until 6 p.m. due to a blasting problem – caused by two huge boulders that fell on the road and needed to be cleared, CHEK News has learned .

“I drove by this morning and it’s a huge accomplishment for this project,” said Ucluelet Mayor Mayco Noel, who has criticized past delays but says Monday’s will be worth it. long-term.

“These two large rocks that we observed no longer exist. These crews have made a lot of progress over the past two months,” he said.

And it’s not just tourists heading west to enjoy some of BC’s best beaches who are facing delays, but also delivery drivers and west coast residents who have to head the other way for appointments and purchases.

“It’s affecting a lot of people and I hate to say it, but we’re getting a little desensitized to it, it’s just an ongoing and certainly frustrating situation, there’s not much we can do about it,” McDiarmid said.

The budget for the project has grown from $38.1 million initially to $53.96 million.

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