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.
Constructurion Update – September 2021:
Bamfield Main Road Surfacing Project Update
Work Completed to date:
- Field survey of the 76 km of road, culverts, bridges, legal property boundaries, waterline at Fredrick Lake, water courses, and related infrastructure completed. This data is utilized for 3D modeling by the road and drainage design team.
- The geotechnical investigation was carried out with over 180 drill holes and nearly 200 test pits. The samples collected were sent to labs for testing and evaluation. All the data has been processed and the geotechnical team is finalizing the design requirements to achieve the best roadbed construction for the seal coat application. The stronger the roadbed the longer the seal coat will last.
- An Environmental study of the 76-km corridor to provide a baseline overview of the existing environmental conditions has been completed. Two reports have been generated by the consultant LGL Environmental that include the Environmental Overview Assessment and the Construction Environmental Management Plan.
- The Road and Drainage design team has developed the design for the complete corridor and is working to finalize the contract documents, quantities requirements, signage, drawings, and contracts for tendering of the road construction.
- HGB Gravel LP has been working since October of 2020 to identify, investigate, acquire permits, test, and develop eight to ten pit locations along the road corridor. These pits will supply all the gravel needs for the project. Having the pits located along the corridor minimizes the costs for hauling and reduces the risks to the project budget. The gravel production will run through the winter. Citizens can expect to see gravel piles appearing along the corridor shortly.
- The team has been working with Barb Beasley PhD, of the Association of Wetland Stewards for Clayoquot & Barkley Sounds on the Western Toad crossings at Fredrick Lake. The toadlets have a high mortality as they head to the forest from Fredrick Lake. Culverts designed for their crossing are going to be placed along strategic locations at Fredrick Lake to provide safe crossing locations.
The project is currently is on schedule and budget. The project team has worked hard to reduce risks to the project and it’s budget. As a result of their continued review of the project the schedule has been revised on numerous occasions.
Work to be completed through 2022:
- The road will be constructed in three sections of approximately 25 kilometers each with contracts being issued for each section. These contracts will be tendered in January 2022 with work to begin in April 2022 and completed by mid-September. These contracts will carry out the gravel placement, compaction, drainage requirements, and signage.
- One seal coat contract covering the complete 76 km will be tendered in March 2022. The seal coating should take about a month to complete and will be expected to be completed by the end of September which allows for weather and other delays. This contract will apply two layers of seal coat and place required barriers.
In March 2023, a paving contract will be tendered, this contract will pave the required sections over the previously laid seal coat. The pavement is to be placed on all steep hills, major intersections and bridge approaches.
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.
- 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.
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.