The west coast of Vancouver Island is an enchanting place of unbelievable scenery, nature and endless outdoor activities. While in the past the far coast was remote and required plenty of dedication to get to, these years it’s become easier than ever. 2018, however, marks a more difficult travel year that visitors need to be aware of before embarking across Vancouver Island.
Check out the details:
A stretch of Highway 4 is going to be undergoing major construction for two years starting this spring and lasting until 2020. A particularly unfriendly section around the Kennedy Lake area of the highway is going to be widened, with other additions being made to enhance visitor safety and experience. Travellers to the coast during the time of construction need to be aware of particular information about delays that will effect travel.
Expect 30 minute delays due to Single Lane Alternating Traffic (SLAT)
Expect 1-3 hour overnight delays
Attempt to depart Port Alberni to Ucluelet/Tofino before 7:30pm to avoid long delays
SLAT is permitted between 7am-10pm year-round
No traffic stoppages are allowed on Friday evenings between 10pm-midnight
No traffic stoppages are allowed during long weekends including the day before and after (with the exception of SLAT)
What do these things mean? Make sure you’re aware of when the stoppages will occur, and time your travel across the Island accordingly. Be sure to depart Port Alberni with plenty of time before the overnight stoppages and travel with enough food, gas and water!
Other things to be aware of for Highway 4:
- No Cell Service
- Only 2 Washroom Stops
- Winding roads of various gradients
- Large trucks on the roads
- No gas stations between Port Alberni and Ucluelet
Be sure to visit the links at the bottom of this article to prepare yourself for the journey on Highway 4!
Luckily, Ucluelet and Tofino are much more accessible by alternative means than they were in the past. If you’re worried about delays, missing your booking, or car sickness due to the windy roads, check out these other options.
Tofino has its very own airport, which is serviced by three airlines: KD Air, Orca Air and Pacific Coastal Airlines. Many airports have a few daily flights to the west coast. There, you can rent a car, or schedule a shuttle, or a taxi to get your to your accommodation.
The Francis Barkley is a passenger ferry run by Lady Rose Marine Services that takes visitors from Port Alberni to Bamfield and Ucluelet. If you don’t want to make the trip all the way to Ucluelet down Highway 4, leave the car in Port Alberni and hop on a sailing to town.
For closure schedules, check out https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/transportation-infrastructure/projects/highway4kennedyhill/traffic-advisories
For more updates and information visit: https://www.discoverucluelet.com/highway-4-kennedy-hill-upgrades