Bamfield Main is an 85-kilometre logging road that connects the residents and businesses located on the traditional territory of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations and communities of Anacla, Bamfield to Port Alberni, BC. Currently, 76 kilometres of the road is unpaved, and unfortunately, its condition led to countless accidents and deaths over decades, including the recent tragic death of 2 University students in 2019.

In September 2020, the government of B.C. announced a contribution of $25.7 million out of $30.7 million total cost to upgrade the road with Huu-ay-aht First Nations contributing the remaining $5 million.

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Project Overview

Location

Bamfield Main runs southwest from Port Alberni to the traditional territory of Huu-ay-aht First Nations, including the communities of Bamfield and Anacla.

Ownership and Maintenance Responsibility

The Province owns most of the Bamfield Main right-of-way. TFL 44 LP is responsible for the maintenance of the road as it holds the principal permit to use the road for forestry operations.

Surface & Condition

Bamfield Main used to follow the industrial standard with a native soil surface, which is the appropriate surface for industrial vehicles, but not for light vehicles. Currently, 76 kilometres of the road is unpaved, which causes travel time between Port Alberni and Bamfield to be around 2.5 hours.

Project Phases

  • Phase 1: Gravel Pit Development (November 2020 – Ongoing)
    • The process involves the identification of numerous possible sites, permitting, testing of the sites, pit development and gravel production. This will require ongoing gravel pit development to support construction requirements for the road.
  • Phase 2: Geotechnical Investigation (February & March 2021)
    • This process involves drilling holes along the corridor to take samples of the road structure and underlying conditions. Test pits will be dug in areas to allow the geotechnical engineers to visually examine the soils and their related conditions.
  • Phase 3: Road and Drainage Design (March 2021 – March 2022)
    • This phase involves 3D modelling of the road and design of the road structure for the pavement and seal coating placement.
  • Phase 4: Road Construction (Anticipated start in June 2021 – Fall 2023)
    • All aspects of road construction including clearing of roadside trees and vegetation, stripping of overburden soil, excavation of ditches and road surface in areas, installation of culverts, placement and compaction of gravels, placement of asphalt pavement and seal coating, signing and barrier placement.

Project History

Since the early 2000s, Huu-ay-aht First Nations has brought the road and its condition to the attention of local and provincial governments.

It became one of the Nation’s top priorities in 2016, when an engineering review was commissioned to provide a preliminary version of an improvement plan for the road, including estimated costs to upgrade the road. In 2019, Huu-ay-aht First Nations commissioned a business case to revise the project costs and after numerous meetings with the Province, in September 2020 the government of B.C. announced a contribution of $25.7 million out of $30.7 million total costs.