Highway 4 - Closures Upcoming Slope Stabilization Work Begins July 17, 2023
Beginning Monday, July 17, 2023, crews will undertake essential rock scaling on the hillside affected by wildfire along Highway 4 on Vancouver Island.
This work is critical in ensuring the long-term safety of the corridor.
A geotechnical assessment of the bluff has determined rock scaling is required before the highway can be safely reopened to two-way traffic at Cameron Lake Bluffs. This work will involve removing loose rocks above the highway. While this work is underway, the highway must be closed to keep crews and travellers safe from rockfall hazards.
Closures will be in place from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday to Friday until mid August, with a two-hour opening to flush traffic daily between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. There will be no closures on weekends, including on the B.C. Day long weekend. Given the nature of this work, rock scaling must be completed during good weather and daylight hours.
“This is a crucial step to ensure Highway 4 can fully reopen as soon as possible, end single-lane-alternating traffic, and keep goods and people moving into our western communities,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “We know this has been a challenging time for businesses and the tourism sector on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and we thank people for their patience as we work as quickly as possible to get this main corridor safely operating at full capacity again.”
Outside of the closure periods for rock scaling, Highway 4 will continue to operate with single-lane-alternating traffic, and will remain available for residents, travellers and commercial traffic. The ministry urges all drivers to use patience and plan trips accordingly as traffic queues are expected to be lengthy.
The detour route will remain open for public use. Oversized loads requiring permits are required to take the detour.
“This has been a difficult season for our all of our communities, and the faster we can get Highway 4 fully reopened, the faster we can count on the travel we rely on to support people and businesses in this region,” said Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim. “We’re grateful for the hard work of the crews who are keeping the highway and detour route safe for travel, and we continue to welcome visitors to our beautiful region of the Island.”
The highway was closed on June 6, 2023, as crews fought the Cameron Lake Bluffs wildfire and performed recovery operations. A detour was established between Port Alberni and Lake Cowichan using forest-service and privately owned industrial roads. Single-lane-alternating traffic has been in place along Highway 4 since June 23.
Drivers are reminded to respect the direction of traffic-control personnel in the area.
What travellers can expect:
- Full closure of Highway 4 at Cameron Lake Bluffs will occur between 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., and between 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.
- During a two-hour window between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., queued traffic will be released, with single-lane-alternating traffic (SLAT). There will be a westbound release at 11:30 a.m. and an eastbound release by 12:30 p.m.
- Outside of full closures, SLAT will be in place.
- On weekends, SLAT will run 24 hours a day.
- The current system for SLAT will remain, including:
- Pilot cars on rotation will lead traffic through the area.
- The length of the SLAT is approximately two kilometres.
- The construction zone speed limit is 30 km/h.
- SLAT is open to all types of commercial and passenger vehicles, except oversized loads and oversized vehicles requiring permits.
- Oversized loads and oversized vehicles must use the detour.
- The pilot-car convoys are available for commercial traffic upon request in advance by calling the Nanaimo district office directly at 250 751-3246.
- There is no essential travel recommendation for either Highway 4 or the detour.
- Drivers should be prepared for lengthy queues on Highway 4.
- Drivers should continue to be prepared for challenging driving conditions along the detour route.
- Drivers are encouraged to fuel up and bring extra supplies, food and water for both routes, and will be expected to move through the SLAT on Highway 4 with the pilot cars.
- Vehicles will not be permitted to stop at parks or along roadsides in the area.
- Cyclists will be accommodated through the SLAT zone, assuming the entire lane and travelling within the group of piloted vehicles.
- No passing will be permitted in the work zone.
- Tow trucks will be staged at either end of the closure to assist motorists in the event of breakdowns, in order to limit disruptions to the flow of traffic.
- The ministry will continue to monitor the safety of this area for all traffic and will adjust to conditions
For up-to-date information about road conditions, visit: http://www.drivebc.ca/
For information about BC Parks closures along this route, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023ENV0037-000995 or http://www.drivebc.ca/
Images from Highway 4 and the detour route can be found at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tranbc/albums/72177720308899528/with/52962540906
Read the full news released here: Slope stabilization work on Highway 4 moves toward full reopening | BC Gov News