Gravel is being laid on the last stretch of road at the 15.5 to 24-kilometre mark of the Bamfield Main and is expected to be complete by the end of April. According to Uyaqḥmis, the Huu-ay-aht First Nation’s newsletter, all of the ditching and culvert work is complete and the project is on schedule.
Negotiations are underway for a contractor to complete the 76.6 kilmetres of seal coat, which is expected to be complete by August.
Huu-ay-aht leaders have lobbied for a better road since the treacherous dirt passage opened in the early 1970s. With its steep hills combined with heavy seasonal rains, the road is subject to washouts, deep ruts and potholes. In the summer drivers can expect to face blinding dust clouds on their way to Anacla and Bamfield.
Nine Huu-ay-aht citizens have died on the road over the years. On Sept. 13, 2019 a bus full of 45 University of Victoria students and two teaching assistants slid off the road down an embankment during an annual trip to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. Two students were killed in the accident.
In the following February Ha-Shilth-Sa reported that Premier John Horgan travelled the road to meet with Huu-ay-aht representatives, and by September 2020 the province had committed $25.7 million to fund improvements to Bamfield Main, adding to the Huu-ay-aht’s pledge of $5 million.
Over the past year, sections of the road were closed and detours were put in place as work to improve the most vulnerable areas took place. Culverts were repaired or replaced, the road was widened in some sections, gravel was hauled in and compacted, and new road barriers and signs have been installed. Most of this work is now complete.
A spokesperson for Chief Councillor Robert Dennis stated that he will make public comment about the project in the coming weeks.