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#44963 - 12/07/15 04:41 PM 2016: Whitney Portal parking & Road Construction: Completed
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7583
Loc: Fresno, CA
Due to major road construction planned on Whitney Portal Road this summer, there will be some major parking restrictions.

Click here to read this entire thread, as it spans several pages.

Update Nov 18, 2016:  Official word has arrived: the Portal Pavement Project is COMPLETE!

Update Nov 11:  The work is nearly completed. Only minor delays should be expected.

Update Oct 27:  Inyo County Sheriff reports on Facebook:
Construction crews have discontinued the extended delays for the Whitney Portal Road Construction Project.  Expect a total traffic delay of up to 30 minutes, Mondays – Fridays: 7:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.  Crews are working on the following items: finishing the roads shoulders, completing curb backfill, installing signs and markers, and minor striping. They hope to begin reseeding and mulching in the next week.

Update Sep 17:  Paving is completed. Edge work continues, delays recently have been up to 90 minutes.

Update Aug 23:  Note: contrary to previous information, walk-in permittees will NOT receive a parking pass for Whitney Portal. No reservation, no parking pass.

Update July 26:  NO parking along the road until further notice.
Update July 28:  Signs are posted on the road warning of 3 hour closures. ...Aug 23: There have been no reports of long periods of closure.

Update Oct 23:  Posted on Instagram by andreavphoto   Lines are painted!!


From the construction company's notice, updated Sept 7:
Quote:
Construction Schedule:
Monday-Friday 6:00 am to 7:30 pm
Plan for extended delays 8:00 am - 11:00 am & 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm in the upper section of road starting above the turn off to Lone Pine Campground. Expect 30 minute delays outside of the extended delay times and areas, but within the construction schedule.
Some notices make the 3-hour "extended delay" periods sound as if the road will be impassable for the entire three hours, but that has turned out NOT to be the case.

Day hikers using the trailhead walk in campground the night before their hike, their one day parking pass will be accepted the evening before the hike.

Day use (non-permit) parking at Whitney Portal: 6 AM - 8 PM (So you can go up before the 6:30 AM construction delays.) Parking in the day use area outside of those hours is not allowed.

NOTE:  Even though you get a parking pass from the Visitor Center in Lone Pine when you pick up your trail permit, it may not guarantee you a parking spot. Inyo N.F. cautions that at times, the parking lots may be completely full, with no space available for those holding a parking pass. More info: Throughout the summer, the parking lots have never been full.

Edit:  Note that parking in unauthorized spots near Whitney Portal and on any surrounding roadways will result in cars being towed, and, I am told, a "Notice to Appear" in court -- not a simple parking ticket.

Edit Feb 29:  The Inyo N.F. Road Construction notices web page has a link to weekly updates pdf document.   Inyo NF road reports on Twitter: @MtWhitneyInfo


Edit Jan 14:  From the Inyo N.F. website
Quote:
Whitney Portal Road Reconstruction (Inyo County and FHWA project)

A major reconstruction of the Whitney Portal Road is planned for March 1 through November 7th of the 2016 season. Hikers, backpackers, campers, and other visitors should plan for road closures (up to three hours), limited parking, carpooling, and a lot of patience. Long term parking will not be available at Whitney Portal during the construction project. More information will become available as the project approaches.
(edit end)


From Inyo National Forest staff:

Quote:
FYI there will be some impacts for hikers with Trail Crest Exit in the 2016 season, specifically during the Whitney Portal Road project.

There will be no long term parking allowed at Whitney Portal.

Use of hiker parking or curbside parking at Whitney Portal will require a parking permit during the construction project.

Folks with Trail Crest Exit could use the backpacker walk in at the Portal and then hike down the National Recreation Trail to where long term parking is allowed near Lone Pine Campground. If doing this scenario, the exit date on the wilderness permit would still be the day they reach Whitney Portal.

Arranging for a shuttle to pick up hikers may be a good solution.

Several parking areas near Lone Pine are being identified for ride share and long term parking.

There will be more details soon regarding how this will impact trips starting at the portal.


This notice appears on the Recreation.gov site when looking for a campsite at Whitney Portal:
Quote:
ROAD CONSTRUCTION: The Whitney Portal Road is being reconstructed in 2016. Daily extended closures and limited parking will require careful planning. Whitney Portal Campground guests must park within designated campground site only. There will be no curbside parking on Whitney Portal Road during construction at the Whitney Portal area. A parking permit is required for hiker parking.



Note that Lone Pine Campground is along Lone Pine Creek, below the steeper part of Whitney Portal Road. Here's a Google Maps view. The turnoff is 3.4 miles from the Horseshoe Meadows turn off, and 6.5 miles from Lone Pine.

Hikers coming off the JMT or using the Trail Crest Exit may need to park near Lone Pine and get down from Whitney Portal using their thumbs. wink Whitney Portal seems to be one of the easiest places for hikers to catch a ride this way.

--- Shuttle services ---
(from Jont Turner at
Sierra Elevation in Lone Pine. Jont writes, "You can call us here at the shop for updates and more info 760-876-4560")
Kurt's Sierra Shuttle   661-972-9476   email: LonePineKurt@aol.com

East Side Shuttle 760-878-9115/8047  email: paul@inyopro.com

Mt Whitney Shuttle 760-876-1915   email: info@mountwhitneyshuttle.com


Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce can arrange shuttle services: 760-876-4444

Also see this web page: Sierra Nevada Shuttles

--- Parking Locations ---
Mount Whitney Golf Course: $10/day, $25/week, $75/month. 760-876-5795
  Across 395 from the Interagency Visitor Center (permit pickup office)
Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce (link above).
Lone Pine Film History museum

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#44968 - 12/08/15 06:26 AM Re: 2016 Parking at Whitney Portal [Re: Steve C]
britonwhit(ney) Offline


Registered: 03/06/14
Posts: 76
Loc: UK
Is there any prospect that Inyo (or an enterprising private firm) will implement a regular/timetabled shuttle service for 2016? (I'm aware of Bob Ennis's regular trips, but they still need scheduled in advance). That would make life much easier for all - maybe it could use the vast parking lot at the visitor centre.


Edited by britonwhit(ney) (12/08/15 06:27 AM)

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#44970 - 12/08/15 05:27 PM Re: 2016 Parking at Whitney Portal [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1559
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
"A parking permit is required for hiker parking."

How does that work?

On reflection, its beginning to look like parking at Lone Pine, or even Mammoth or Lee Vining, would be preferable to parking at the Portal. Parking at the Portal requires a shuttle, exchange, taxi, Uber or hitch at some point. Easiest hitch I have ever seen is Portal to LP, and from there, trans is available all the way back to Yos, Reno, wherever. So I don't see any value to parking at the Portal, and no disadvantage in losing it for long term hike. For weekend or day hike, looks like it will still be available.

Soo what exactly is the issue?
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#44973 - 12/08/15 09:28 PM Re: 2016 Parking at Whitney Portal [Re: saltydog]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7583
Loc: Fresno, CA
"A parking permit is required for hiker parking."   How does that work?
Parking permit issued with the trail permit, I assume.


Soo what exactly is the issue?

I think many long-term hikers would park along the roadway when the parking lots were full. So that won't be available. And I think in the peak hiking months, there are just more cars for multi-night backpackers than there will be spots in the parking lots. It wouldn't be that difficult to hitch a ride down to their car, but for a group starting a hike and no spots available... what to do... drop everyone and gear at the trail head, drive the car back down, and hitch back up to the Portal? That might delay the start time for a bunch of people.

This would be a good summer to try running a regular shuttle: One or two trips in the morning, one or two mid-day, and one in the afternoon. It works at Mammoth/Devils Postpile. I'd bet it would at the Portal.

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#45040 - 12/20/15 11:01 PM Re: 2016 Parking at Whitney Portal [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7583
Loc: Fresno, CA
More info from Inyo N.F. staff:

Quote:
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.

Timeline:

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.

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#45077 - 01/03/16 09:45 PM Re: 2016: Whitney Portal parking & Road Construction [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7583
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here is the map of the road construction project.


  (Click for full size)


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#45083 - 01/05/16 10:29 AM Re: 2016: Whitney Portal parking & Road Construction [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1559
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Note that Segment 1 is the Portal area: does this hold out any hope that this section will be done and over with early in the season?
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#45084 - 01/05/16 05:31 PM Re: 2016: Whitney Portal parking & Road Construction [Re: saltydog]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7583
Loc: Fresno, CA
No, not at all. They're talking starting work on segments 2 and 3 in March. The upper area will likely be done during the main hiking season, unfortunately.

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#45097 - 01/08/16 07:49 PM Re: 2016: Whitney Portal parking & Road Construction [Re: Steve C]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Am I the only one confused? According to the map, the "Project Start" is the upper 1st segment, starting at Whitney Portal. The "Project End" is the 3rd segment, which ends in Lone Pine.

It would make more sense to start the project at a lower elevation, and leave the upper segment after the snow has melted.


Edited by Bob West (01/08/16 07:50 PM)

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#45098 - 01/08/16 10:48 PM Re: 2016: Whitney Portal parking & Road Construction [Re: Bob West]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7583
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Bob West
Am I the only one confused? According to the map, the "Project Start" is the upper 1st segment, starting at Whitney Portal. The "Project End" is the 3rd segment, which ends in Lone Pine.

It would make more sense to start the project at a lower elevation, and leave the upper segment after the snow has melted.

You're right, and they will indeed start parts 2 & 3 first. I think the map was created by someone completely unfamiliar with the area.

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#45105 - 01/10/16 02:57 PM Re: 2016 Parking at Whitney Portal [Re: Steve C]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2243
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
Originally Posted By: Steve C
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.
_________________________
Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

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#45119 - 01/14/16 04:14 PM Re: 2016: Whitney Portal parking & Road Construction [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7583
Loc: Fresno, CA
News release, Jan 14, 2016

Quote:
Whitney Portal Road Reconstruction Planned for 2016 Significant Impacts to Access, Parking

Release Date: Jan 14, 2016
Contact(s): Deb Schweizer Public Affairs Officer 760-873-2427
Whitney Portal Document
Tips for Accessing Whitney Portal

Whitney Portal Road Reconstruction Planned for 2016
Significant Impacts to Access, Parking


The Whitney Portal Road Reconstruction is planned for the 2016 season under a funding request from Inyo County. The road will be re-paved and needs significant repairs for safety. The project begins just west of Lone Pine and ends just east of Whitney Portal.

Whitney Portal is the most popular trailhead on the forest; with hikers applying, by lottery, to ascend the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. Mt Whitney is also the southern terminus of the John Muir Trail (JMT).

“There is no way to complete this project without having a significant impact on visitors to the Whitney Portal area,” said Ed Armenta, Forest Supervisor. “The road has only one ingress/egress and the already limited parking will be much reduced. Accessing the area may be, at times, difficult and frustrating. Your planning and patience will help complete this very important project.”

Visitors have long used roadside parking as an overflow. During construction near Whitney Portal, this roadside parking will not be available.

Construction delays will be up to three hours, twice a day. Visitors to Whitney Portal should anticipate that there may not be a parking space available.

Visitors to Whitney Portal should consider carpooling, being dropped off by friends, or shuttle services available from the Lone Pine area.

Visitors who want to hike Mt. Whitney are strongly encouraged to enter the lottery since walk-in permits will not be issued when parking is unavailable. Please apply via www.recreation.gov.

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#45121 - 01/14/16 10:29 PM Re: 2016: Whitney Portal parking & Road Construction [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7583
Loc: Fresno, CA
From Inyo N.F.   Tips for Accessing Whitney Portal (pdf document)
Quote:
Accessing Whitney Portal: How To Make it Work
  • If you do plan to visit Whitney in the summer of 2016, please pack your patience and carefully plan your trip to avoid the construction delays and the parking problems.
  • Check the construction schedule before you head up to Whitney Portal (Twitter (@mtwhitneyinfo), at the Interagency Visitor Center (760-876-6222), on the web (http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5150055). There may be times when delays and parking are little impacted. There may be periods with 30 minute delays, and two 3-hour delays per day in the peak of construction.
  • Please be prepared that there may not be a parking space available for you.
  • Consider carpooling, being dropped off by friends, or explore local shuttle services.
  • To help alleviate the problem of reduced parking, long-term parking will not be permitted. No overnight parking is available for anyone not starting and ending a hike at Whitney Portal. If you are entering or exiting the Whitney Trail via the Pacific Crest Trail, the High Sierra Trail, the JMT or other popular long-distance routes, you may not park or stage a vehicle at the trailhead.
  • Long-term parking may be available in Lone Pine. Check with the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce (760) 876-4444).
  • An alternative to parking and hiking from Whitney Portal is the National Recreation Trail that connects the Whitney Portal Campground and Lone Pine Campground to the trailhead. This is an additional four miles of hiking with an additional 2,400 ft. in elevation gain. Parking is allowed clear of the roadway.
  • All permitted Whitney hikers will receive a day or overnight parking permit that must be displayed on their vehicle. Whitney overnight hikers with valid parking passes may park at Whitney Portal for a maximum of 3 nights, if space is available. No day-use parking will be allowed after 8:00 p.m.
  • A limited number of well-signed parking spaces will be available for day-users to the Whitney Portal area who are not hiking to Mt. Whitney.
  • Parked vehicles without the required permit, that overstay their limit, interfere with construction activities, or are unsafely parked will be towed.
  • The Inyo National Forest will honor the efforts of people who apply via the lottery for a Whitney hike. People who want to hike Whitney in 2016 are strongly encouraged to use the lottery system for the hike (please apply via www.recreation.gov).
  • Many people who apply via the lottery cannot make the hike for a variety of personal reasons and the forest has re-issued those permits to "walk-ins" at the visitor center the day before or the day of for interested hikers. These walk-ins may not be available in 2016.The forest intends to manage the limited parking, in part, by limiting the walk-in permits. If there is no parking, then the walk-in permits will not be issued, or a reduced number will be issued.
  • People who plan to take advantage of the walk-in process need to understand this option may not be available this year, especially in the peak of the summer which will likely be when construction is underway near Whitney Portal.

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#45126 - 01/15/16 11:14 PM Re: 2016: Whitney Portal parking & Road Construction [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7583
Loc: Fresno, CA
Map showing parking restrictions.
Click on the maps for an enlarged view.


Quote:
  1. Whitney Portal Campground: Group and family campground parking is limited to registered campground guests. Vehicles must be parked within the designated parking space for their campsite.
  2. No Parking: This area is for Forest Service administrative use only. No public parking on side roads or dirt lot.
  3. Loading and Unloading Zone: Whitney Portal Trailhead, from rockwork identifying the trailhead pedestrian
    way, west to Whitney Portal Store pedestrian way is roadside loading and unloading zone where terrain allows while maintaining a clear safety lane. Additional loading zone is located near the pedestrian
    way to the fishing dock and pond.
  4. Picnic Area, Pond, and Whitney Portal Store: No parking pass is needed. Parking is permitted 6am to 8pm for spaces shaded yellow. Whitney Portal Store parking spaces are for store customers only. Day Use
    Parking has 12 parking spaces for visitors using the picnic area, fishing pond, or short hikes that do not enter the Mt Whitney Zone, like Lone Pine Lake.
  5. Hiker Parking: Parking pass required to park after 8pm or prior to 6am. Vehicles not to exceed 20’. No long term parking. Vehicles parking overnight must display a parking pass on the dashboard with expiration
    date visible.
  6. Recreation Residences: Recreation residence road parking by permission of residence permittee only.


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#45221 - 01/28/16 07:47 AM Re: 2016: Whitney Portal parking & Road Construction [Re: Steve C]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA

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#45222 - 01/28/16 08:47 AM Re: 2016: Whitney Portal parking & Road Construction [Re: Bob West]
britonwhit(ney) Offline


Registered: 03/06/14
Posts: 76
Loc: UK
I'm unclear when this is expected to complete. Doug's WPS message implies possibly "late June", but the original press release indicates November.

Does anyone have any additional insight? I'm hiking mid August and wondering whether there is a possibility that parking is open again.

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#45223 - 01/28/16 10:25 AM Re: 2016: Whitney Portal parking & Road Construction [Re: britonwhit(ney)]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7583
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: britonwhit(ney)
I'm unclear when this is expected to complete. Doug's WPS message implies possibly "late June", but the original press release indicates November.

Does anyone have any additional insight? I'm hiking mid August and wondering whether there is a possibility that parking is open again.

I really doubt the project will even be close to complete by late June. Based on my communications with the Inyo N.F. staff person, this project will likely continue through mid-summer.

I'll keep this thread up-to-date, so you should know in the weeks before your trip.

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#45225 - 01/28/16 05:07 PM Re: 2016: Whitney Portal parking & Road Construction [Re: Steve C]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
The Whitney Portal Road Project is planned for March 1 through November 7th of the 2016 season. A June completion date is probably out of the question.

The Bishop Pass trailhead parking lot repaving took two months last year, from September to October, and was a relatively small project compared with the Whitney project, which involves over 11 miles of road.



Edited by Bob West (01/28/16 05:12 PM)

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#45227 - 01/28/16 11:30 PM Re: 2016: Whitney Portal parking & Road Construction [Re: Bob West]
britonwhit(ney) Offline


Registered: 03/06/14
Posts: 76
Loc: UK
Thanks all. I guess absent any changes I'll plan to leave my car in Lone Pine and shuttle both ways. We're either doing Cottonwood Lakes to Whitney or Onion Valley so whatever we do there's a fair bit of shuttling!

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#45329 - 02/22/16 04:22 PM Re: 2016: Whitney Portal parking & Road Construction [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7583
Loc: Fresno, CA
Regarding the notes on walk-in permits, and the possibility that they may not be available due to parking problems:

It is my understanding that if people can arrange transportation to and from the trailhead without the need of a parking permit, then they will be able to pick up walk-in permits if they are available.

Note: This thread continues -- click page 2

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