Construction continues on the Highway 4 Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement Project, with the project currently at 60 per cent complete.
However, due to a variety of factors, the project will not be completed in summer 2020 as originally scheduled.
Factors affecting the completion date include the fast-evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the need for more complex blasts due to variable rock, increased environmental protections, and the repairs to Highway 4 resulting from blasting damage at the project site in January.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was anticipated that final paving would take place in fall 2020, with completion in this coming winter due to the necessary blasting and repair work. However, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure acknowledges the possibility of more delays as a result of the developing situation with COVID-19. The ministry and the contractor are committed to working together to mitigate any schedule delays.
Blasting on site continues to be the key activity. Once the rock bluffs have been lowered to highway grade in the next few months, the contractor will be able to shorten highway closures. This will improve access for residents and visitors.
The excavation at this project site has been particularly complex. Design adjustments have been made to reduce the amount of rock and earth removed by about 130,000 cubic metres. Three cantilever bridge structures will be added, and the new rest area will now be located on the lake side of the highway. These adjustments will help reduce project risk associated with blasting without requiring further schedule extension.
The Highway 4 Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement Project will create a safer and more reliable connection between Port Alberni and the west coast of Vancouver Island.
The ministry thanks area residents and other people who rely on the highway for their patience and understanding during construction and the changing schedule.