Update on Whitney Portal Road Repair Project

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday received the first of what is to become regular, every-other-meeting updates
on the Whitney Portal Road Repair Project from Public Works Director Mike Errante.

Errante reported that the Federal Highway Administration Central Federal Lands (CFL) Highway Division put the
project out to bid on May 2. Proposals are due May 16 with the contract tentatively expected to be awarded May 30
and construction starting around the second week of June.

Whitney Portal Road was among the hardest hit last year by multiple, record-breaking weather events, including
atmospheric rivers in January and March, flooding from unprecedented spring runoff levels, and Tropical Storm Hilary
in August 2023. The latter storm dumped more than a year’s worth of precipitation throughout the county over a 12-
hour period, causing upwards of $10 million in damage to Whitney Portal Road alone, with the worst of it occurring in
the canyon section.

The Board of Supervisors authorized the CFL to take over responsibility for the repair project on October 10, 2023,
including handling the bidding process, covering the costs, and doing the design work. The Board agreed that allowing
the CFL to manage the redesign and contract would provide additional resiliency in the design, environmental
streamlining, and cashflow coverage that would otherwise not be available.

A preconstruction meeting is scheduled for early June, and a Notice to Proceed with construction is expected to be
issued on or about June 10. Completion is still slated for October. Errante said he is hoping to meet with the contractor
during the CFL’s preconstruction meeting to encourage condensing the project schedule if possible.

In the meantime, the road – which provides access to Mt. Whitney, the Inyo National Forest, Alabama Hills National
Scenic Area, and multiple residential communities outside Lone Pine – remains closed between Tuttle Creek and
Movie roads with detours established from Moffat Ranch Road to Movie Road, Tuttle Creek Road to Horseshoe
Meadows Road, and Lubken Canyon Road to Horseshoe Meadows Road. The County continues to address concerns
from residents about traffic speeding or even blocking the roadways or taking high-profile vehicles on narrow, winding
routes. Inyo County Road Crews will be adding to existing signage this week, installing approximately 30 new signs
along all directions of the detour routes to help with traffic calming and control.

Chairperson Matt Kingsley has previously said he wants to impress upon the contractor the need for expediency by
inviting them to a public meeting where they can hear residents’ concerns and frustrations first-hand, and hopefully
understand and appreciate the sense of urgency.

Updates on the project, as well as detour maps and images of the road damage, can be found online on Inyo County’s
Whitney Portal Road story map, accessed on the home page of the County website (www.inyocounty.us), through
the Ready Inyo site (https://ready.inyocounty.us/), or directly here: https://t.ly/tNZyS.