Highway 4 reopens between Qualicum and west coast

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

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

(File photo)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)
Island Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jenica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts was found dead near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, which has been operating a treatment centre on land leased from the Nanoose First Nation for 35 years (pictured), has begun a fundraising campaign to open a new centre near Duncan. (Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society photo)
New residential school healing centre to be built near Duncan

$5-million Indigenous treatment centre will help survivors of residential schools heal

Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)
Vancouver Island lottery players win $1 million and $500,000 in Lotto Max draw

$1 million ticket sold in Campbell River, $500,000 ticket sold in Nanaimo

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Most Read