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Province of British Columbia
For Immediate Release
Aug. 31, 2023
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Highway 4 reopens two full lanes for travel
Updated Aug. 31, 2023

PORT ALBERNI – Highway 4 near Cameron Lake Bluffs will reopen two full lanes of travel at 5 p.m. on Aug. 31, 2023, with crews having successfully stabilized the area, making the passage safer and more reliable for people travelling to and from the Alberni Valley and communities on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The highway has been operating with single-lane-alternating traffic since the end of June as crews worked to stabilize the hillside from the impact of the Cameron Lake Bluffs wildfire. Complex rock scaling, debris removal and the installation of 1.4 kilometres of barrier and catchment fencing had to be completed before the highway could be fully reopened ahead of the Labour Day long weekend.

“Highway 4 fully reopening is welcome news for our Island. The wildfire devastation and subsequent safety repairs on this vital corridor has been disruptive for everyone in the region,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “We thank the crews who worked tirelessly to make reopening possible, and the businesses, local governments and First Nations who waited patiently while we kept people and goods moving to and from communities on the west coast of the Island. We know how important it is for Highway 4 to be fully open in both directions to all travellers and are really pleased that will happen in advance of the busy Labour Day long weekend.”

Highway 4 will be open for all passenger and commercial vehicles, including oversized loads that require a permit (normal permitting requirements apply). Signage around the detour route, and its checkpoints, will now be dismantled, though the route remains open.

“It’s been a challenging season for people and businesses in the Alberni Valley and on the west coast, so it’s very welcome news that we can travel safely to visit family, make medical appointments and commute to and from work,” said Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim. “We’re also excited to welcome visitors for late summer and fall – one of the most beautiful times of the year to visit the Alberni Valley and the west coast." 

To stabilize the bluffs, crews removed 250 dangerous trees and 1,000 tonnes of rock debris. Additional work included placement of the catchment fencing, bolting rocks, instalment of a weather station and pavement patching, line marking and sign installation.

The highway first closed on June 6, 2023, to keep travellers safe as crews fought the Cameron Lake Bluffs wildfire and performed recovery operations. The detour was established between Port Alberni and Lake Cowichan using forest-service and privately owned industrial roads.

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Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
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