British Columbia Highway 4

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Highway 4 shield

Highway 4
Alberni Highway
Pacific Rim Highway
Route information
Length162 km[1] (101 mi)
Major junctions
East end Hwy 19 in Qualicum Beach
  Hwy 4A near Coombs
West endGovernment Wharf in Tofino
Location
DistrictsTofino
Major citiesPort Alberni
TownsQualicum Beach
Highway system
British Columbia provincial highways
Hwy 3BHwy 5

Highway 4 is the longest east-west main vehicle route on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, with a total length of 162 km (100 mi). It known locally as the Alberni Highway to the east of Port Alberni and the Pacific Rim Highway to the west. The original highway from Parksville to Alberni and Port Alberni was completed in 1942 and was originally designated as Highway 1A. It was re-designated as Highway 4 in 1953, and was extended in 1961 to the small community of Tofino, on the west coast of the Island.

Route details[edit]

Highway 4 and 19 Interchange at Qualicum Beach

Highway 4's eastern terminus is at the interchange with Highway 19 at in Qualicum Beach; however, the roadway continues north as Memorial Avenue for 4 km (2 mi) to Highway 19A. From Highway 19, it travels south for 3 km (2 mi) to a junction with an older Alberni Highway segment, now known as Highway 4A, at the small community of Hilliers in Coombs. Highway 4 veers directly west upon meeting this junction.

The majority of Highway 4's length is composed of a two-lane configuration. An abandoned spur of the E&N Railway parallels Highway 4 all the way from the coast to the city of Port Alberni.

West of Coombs Junction, Highway 4 travels for 11 km (7 mi) before meeting Cameron Lake. Highway 4 hugs the shore of Cameron Lake for 5 km (3 mi), then winds its way through MacMillan Provincial Park, which includes a tourist attraction known as Cathedral Grove. After Cameron Lake, Highway 4 climbs for 8 km (5 mi), following the Cameron River, to the Port Alberni Summit—the highest point on the highway (elevation: 411 metres (1,348 ft)), known by locals as "The Hump", at which it crosses from the Regional District of Nanaimo into the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District—and then descends for 6 km (4 mi) to a spur that travels into the city centre of Port Alberni. Highway 4 actually enters the city limits of Port Alberni 2 km (1.2 mi) west of the main spur into the city, and 5 km (3 mi) later, exits Port Alberni via a bridge over the Somass River.

Tofino was a strong advocate of the Trans-Canada Highway system, and this sign was erected in the hope that Highway 4 would become part of the TCH.

6 km (4 mi) west of the Somass River crossing, Highway 4 reaches the shore of Sproat Lake, following the lake shore west for 24 km (15 mi). Highway 4 then follows the Taylor River for 10 km (6 mi) to the summit of Sutton Pass (elevation: 240 metres (790 ft)), named after William John Sutton, and then turns toward the south-southwest to follow the Kennedy River. This very winding bearing of Highway 4, which features very steep grades, continues for 23 km (14 mi) before reaching the southeast shore of Kennedy Lake. Highway 4 then follows the shore of Kennedy Lake southwest for 19 km (12 mi), then reaches a junction with a spur into the settlement of Ucluelet 5 km (3 mi) later. At the Tofino-Ucluelet junction, known locally as "The Junction," Highway 4 then makes a ninety-degree turn towards the northwest. 1 km (0.6 mi) later, Highway 4 enters the Long Beach Unit of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Highway 4 goes through the national park for 22 km (14 mi) northwest, finally terminating 11 km (7 mi) later at Tofino.

Major intersections[edit]

From east to west:

Regional districtLocationkm[1]miDestinationsNotes
NanaimoQualicum Beach−3.70−2.30 Hwy 19A (Oceanside Route) – Courtenay, Parksville
0.000.00 Hwy 19 (Inland Island Highway) – Campbell River, NanaimoHilliers Interchange (Hwy 19 Exit 60)
Hwy 4 eastern terminus
2.621.63 Hwy 4A east – Coombs, Parksville
Alberni-ClayoquotPort Alberni37.7423.45Gertrude Street – City Centre
128.7279.98Ucluelet Road (Hwy 963:2386 south) – UclueletHwy 963:2386 is unsigned
131.14–
151.43
81.49–
94.09
Passes through Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
Tofino161.60100.41Government WarfHwy 4 western terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
  •       Closed/former

Highway 4A[edit]

Highway 4A
LocationCoombsParksville
Length9.7 km[1] (6.0 mi)

Highway 4A is the previous alignment of Highway 4 east of Coombs. The '4A' designation was originally assigned in 1968 to the current section of Highway 4 between Coombs and Qualicum Beach. The 4 and 4A alignments east and north of Coombs, respectively, switched designations when the Parksville to Mud Bay section of the Inland Island Highway was completed in 1996. This older spur of Highway 4 terminates in the east at Parksville, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from Coombs.

Major intersections[edit]

Regional districtLocationkm[1]miDestinationsNotes
NanaimoParksville−1.90−1.18 Hwy 19A (Oceanside Route) – Courtenay, Qualicum Beach, Nanaimo
0.000.00 Hwy 19 (Inland Island Highway) – Campbell River, NanaimoAllsbrook Interchange (Hwy 19 Exit 51)
Hwy 4A eastern terminus
Coombs6.834.24Station Road
9.676.01 Hwy 4 – Qualicum Beach, Port AlberniHwy 4A western terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
  •       Closed/former

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Landmark Kilometre Inventory (PDF). British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (Report). Cypher Consulting. July 2016. pp. 131–139.