Highway 4 reopens between Qualicum and west coast

Crews deal with washout at Kennedy Lake; power still out in Tofino, Ucluelet

Highway 4 has reopened both east and west of Port Alberni following what some officials are calling the worst storm in the past decade on Vancouver Island.

The highway was cut off between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni on Thursday (Dec. 20) due to numerous trees having fallen across the roadway and onto power lines. One person who drove through the area Friday morning said the number of trees down on the east side of Cameron Lake and around Whiskey Creek was “unbelievable.”

READ: Highway 4 closed east and west of Port Alberni

Another poster, Christine Ansell, congratulated work crews. “Fabulous job, guys! Not even a twig on the highway. The carnage around the Whiskey Creek area is just devastating, though.”

The road was also cut off from Port Alberni to the west coast communities of Tofino and Ucluelet, with the same situation. For a few hours, traffic was also cut off on Pacific Rim Highway between Ucluelet and Tofino. Both communities are still without power.

The heavy rain and winds resulted in a washout of Highway 4 near Kennedy Lake on Thursday. The washout is located 13 kilometres east of the southern boundary of Pacific Rim National Park. Traffic is getting through the area, single lane and alternating.

Dyan Lover of Port Alberni was driving past the area as the road was undermined. Lover made it through, and stopped to take some video.

VIDEO: Kennedy Lake road washes out

There were reported wind gusts of up to 111 kilometres per hour in Tofino, and gusts reaching up to 80 kmh in Port Alberni, according to The Weather Network.

The District of Ucluelet is mopping up now that the weather has calmed down. “We made it through. The power went out yesterday (Dec. 20) at 8:30 a.m.,” Ucluelet Mayor Mayko Noel said. Highways crews are hoping to have the road at Kennedy Hill back to two lanes open “as early as tonight,” he added.

The district set up an emergency operations command centre in the event the power outage was extended. “We were told power is anticipated to be on at 2 p.m., which gave us a level of relief,” he said.

The Co-op grocery store and gas station remained open in Ucluelet. “It was nice to have those hubs open for community members to gather and discuss what was going on.”

Noel said the district did not have to open an emergency centre after all. “We were very well aware if the power outage went past this afternoon we were having discussions about the vulnerable people in our community and how to take care of them.”

Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne posted on social media Friday morning that the District of Tofino opened the community centre at 351 Arnet Road “for anyone who’d like to come by and warm up, have a cup of coffee or tea, and visit with others.”

Tofino will keep its Facebook page updated with recovery operations, she added.

Osborne was stuck on the east side of Vancouver Island during the storm. “I’m grateful I’ll be able to make it home today after the highway closures – huge, huge thank you to the BC Hydro, highways, and public works crews hard at work yesterday and in some cases very late in to the night,” she posted.

More than 2,000 people on the west coast are still without power. BC Hydro called it “one of the most sever storms BC Hydro has experienced in years.” More than 750 spans of wire, 270 poles, 400 cross-arms and 150 transformers were damaged between Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast and Fraser Valley. At one point Thursday night, 260,000 customers were without power, almost half of them on Vancouver Island—mostly between Victoria and Nanaimo.

The City of Port Alberni opened an Emergency Operations Centre at Echo Centre (4255 Wallace St.). Some tourists stuck in Port Alberni stayed the night, as well as BC Hydro workers, residents displaced due to the storm and those from the Port Alberni Shelter, who were evacuated from the shelter due to a bomb threat.

Approximately 50 people had registered at the centre by 11 p.m. Thursday, city recreation programmer Karen Freethy said. Freethy was one of the staff members working at the desk to check in people. Two rooms were set up with cots—one for men, one for women—where people could sleep.

Meals and snacks were provided to people Thursday night, and breakfast Friday morning. The emergency centre was going to remain open Friday as long as it was needed, Freethy said.

“We’re trying to run our programming in conjunction with being a support to people who need it.”




Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Design work for seismic upgrade of John Hart Dam continues

BC Hydro’s planned seismic upgrades to the John Hart Dam are targeted… Continue reading

Residents escape fire in Campbell River mobile home

CR Firefighters respond to mobile home fire this morning. No injuries reported.… Continue reading

Where’s the line between furniture and art?

Local timber framer Chris Zumkeller makes foray into the world of fine art with wood creations

Future of Campbell River Sportsplex will go to public consultation

‘We have buckets on the floor to catch the leaks in the roof. That’s unpalatable to me’

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

B.C. Transit finds 28 used fareboxes online, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Economy lost 71,200 jobs in November, unemployment rate climbs to 5.9%

Jobless rate is at its highest since August 2018, when it hit 6%

BC Hydro reservoirs see record low rain across Vancouver Island

Hydro electric watersheds are at a third of their normal levels

Most Read