The mood amongst drivers stuck on both sides of a jackknifed semi-truck was surprisingly jovial during yesterday’s three-hour closure.
A tractor-trailer jackknifed on Highway 4 while maneuvering a tight corner roughly 18 kilometres east of the Tofino-Ucluelet junction near TR 19 Creek and Kennedy Lake on Thursday, blocking traffic in both directions for roughly three hours from around 4:45 p.m. to 7:50 p.m.
B.C. Conservation Officer Daniel Eichstadter was assisting responders with traffic control, stopping eastbound traffic near Kennedy Lake around 5 p.m. and advising drivers there was a several-hour wait ahead of them to get into Port Alberni.
Another road-stop was later set up at the Tofino-Ucluelet junction.
Ahousaht local Marcie Callewaert was heading back from Port Alberni, where she and her fiance had been picking up supplies for their wedding next weekend, and found themselves blocked.
“We stopped for a swim along the way so we may have made it past if not for that,” Callewaert told the Westerly adding the swim “was still worth it though.”
She said her fiance took a nap while she walked past a long line of cars to see what was blocking them all and came upon the jackknifed truck. She said the mood amongst the stuck commuters was jovial, considering the hold up.
“It was fun to stop and chat with locals and meet tourists from around the world. Everyone was is good spirits. Some were frustrated, but everyone was chuckling about it. I saw families doing puzzles, reading to themselves and aloud, playing frisbee, board games and even cooking dinner,” she said. “It’s not something I’d like to deal with every time I travel and an alternative route would be nice, but I kind of enjoyed slowing down the pace and enjoyed the lovely weather and fantastic lake views.”
Const. Jarett Duncan of the Ucluelet RCMP said there were no injuries related to the incident and the driver was able to drive away once a tow truck arrived from Port Alberni to straighten the tractor-trailer out.
“It appears, throughout the investigation, that it was basically just driver error,” Duncan said. “There was no sustained damage to the truck, it just jackknifed at an angle that blocked both lanes of traffic.”
Although the crash happened closer to Tofino and Ucluelet, Duncan said the tow truck needed to come from Port Alberni because the West Coast is not equipped with tow trucks big enough to adjust the tractor-trailer.
Duncan said there are no Motor Vehicle Act charges pending as a result of the incident, though the trucking company would be on the hook for the tow’s bill.