Inyo N.F. staff info: Note the lower parts of the road will be handled first, with the upper segment most likely during the middle of the hiking season
This is a big project, it includes all of Whitney Portal Road from the city limit at Lone Pine to the Overflow parking lot at the portal.
While the construction is in the lower sections, the delay to pass through the site will be the main issue. 30 minute delays will be standard, with longer delays for some of the specific construction steps. This will affect access to Horseshoe Meadows Road also. The contract calls for no work on weekends, however all the road projects in the last few years have been granted some exceptions to work on weekends.
There are 3 road work segments identified for the construction contract. The contractor may do them in a different order, or combine segments, or change the order of work… we will know more about the contract in February. The project may start as early as March 1.
Segment #3 is from the city limits of Lone Pine, CA. through the Alabama Hills to near the forest boundary/ Lone Pine Campground.
Segment #2 is from Lone Pine Campground to Hogback Road (the dirt parking area below the winter closure point, the bottom of the road switchbacks)
Segment #1 is from Hogback Road to the Portal.
Best guess by our engineering staff is the contractor will work on Segment #3 first, as the upper part of the road is likely to not be reliably snow free until later in the spring. Segment #3 is a big segment and has several bridges, so it may take a while. We cannot predict now with any accuracy what date the project will move into the Hogback to Portal segment.
While work is in segment 2 & 3, below the winter closure point:•Portal parking should be fairly normal with curbside parking allowed near the campground and upper portal road.
•Some long term parking may be allowed, case by case, if we can verify the trip will end well before work begins in Segment #1.
When the work moves into Segment #1:•There will be NO curbside parking at all, from Hogback Road (the winter closure point) to the driveway for the Overflow parking lot at the Portal.
•The only parking in this stage of construction will be in the campsites in Whitney Portal Campground and the actual parking lots at the Portal.
•Every turn out, dirt road, and spur road has been surveyed and identified for staging of construction materials, heavy equipment, construction crew parking, or other designated use.
•There will also be no public parking on the roads to the privately held cabins toward Meysan Lakes trail. Parking at these cabins is already assigned, and a safety lane must be maintained to all these structures for emergency. We are identifying a few parking spots in the campground for permitted Meysan Lake parking.
•If our enforcement officer reports parking is exceeding capacity we may temporarily suspend issuing walk in wilderness permits. This will include Whitney no-shows.
We hope to have some notice for when the work will move into the portal area, but cannot predict it at this time. On the road projects over the last two years, contracts have referred to two week notice, but that doesn't always happen. Hopefully we will be able to give you at least a weeks' notice of when the serious parking crunch will begin.