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Road to Tofino, Ucluelet to be temporarily reopened for essential traffic Friday

Rock clearing blast damages B.C. highway
WATCH: Rock-clearing blast damages B.C. highway.

People trapped in Tofino and Ucluelet by a “major road failure” on Highway 4 will have a chance to get out of the coastal communities on Friday afternoon.

The Ministry of Transportation says the route will be open to essential traffic only from noon until 8 p.m.

The road was closed early Thursday morning after a blasting mishap by crews doing safety upgrades on the highway caused a portion of it to collapse.

READ MORE: ‘Major road failure’ during blasting isolates Tofino, Ucluelet from rest of Vancouver Island

The highway is the only land route in and out of the two coastal communities, however Tofino does have an airport.

The ministry said Friday that travel will be limited to passenger vehicles and light pickup trucks only.

“Vehicles will be screened at the Tofino/Ucluelet junction and at Sproat Lake. Larger vehicles will be turned around,” the ministry said in an update.

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“Heavy loads, trucks with duallies and vehicles towing trailers will not be let through.”

READ MORE: Vancouver Island’s Hwy. 4 closed due to washout

The ministry says once the highway has cleared, crews will work to erect a portable bridge so that the route can be reopened.

The bridge installation is expected to involve a lengthy closure, however the ministry said the timeline remains unclear.

The blasting that caused the rockfall was part of a $38-million safety upgrade to the Kennedy Hill portion of Highway 4 for work on a 1.5-kilometre stretch adjacent to Kennedy Lake.