Whitney Portal Road

In early 2016, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) awarded the Whitney Portal Road project to Hat Creek Construction for $10.9 million. Whitney Portal is the most popular trailhead providing hiking access to Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous United Sates. It is located approximately 14 miles west of the town of Lone Pine, California. Hikers apply by lottery to ascend Mt. Whitney.  An 11.2-mile segment of the Whitney Portal Road from Lone Pine to the Mount Whitney Recreation Area was selected for reconstruction and rehabilitation. The road needed safety improvements and rehabilitation.

The Whitney Portal Road is a two lane, paved roadway that incorporates unpaved shoulders and paved and unpaved intersections and pulloffs. The Whitney Portal Road had exhibited significant thermal cracking of the asphalt pavement, and required full depth reclamation (FDR). There was a 3.5-mile segment of the project corridor that was located in steep, mountainous terrain, with a narrow roadway bench, steep side slopes and switchbacks which contributed to the overall complexity of the project.

This project consisted of pulverizing and repaving,

widening, grading and drainage improvements to a 11.2-mile segment of Whitney Portal Road. The reconstruction required approximately 33,000 tons of asphalt pavement. This project included repaving the road, significant improvements to drainage and culverts, as well as other necessary safety repairs. The project began just west of Lone Pine and ended just east of Whitney Portal.

Key challenges for this project included accommodating high traffic volumes and working in an environmentally sensitive location. The work required the cooperation of multiple agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The project ranged in elevation from 3,500 feet to 8,500 feet.

RockSol provided construction oversight and inspection services on behalf of FHWA for this project. Construction oversight responsibilities included project administration, preparation of pay estimates, review and approval of contractor submittals, and management of meetings and conferences. RockSol also reviewed shop drawings, verified falsework and shoring installation, reviewed safety plans, and inspected all construction items for conformance with plans and specifications.

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