Road construction season begins in Sequoia National Park
Expect delays on Generals Highway between Amphitheater Point and Crystal Cave Road
SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK – The second season of road construction in Sequoia National Park began on Monday, March 19. Work is being done on an approximately one mile long segment of the Generals Highway between Amphitheater Point and Crystal Cave Road.
Work on this segment is extensive and includes reconstruction of the road to widen narrow sections, construct new or rehabilitate existing retaining walls, improve drainage, construct new pullouts, and other improvements. This work will take place in elevations ranging from 4,500 to 5,500 feet.
The Generals Highway Construction Project is funded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and is paid for by the Federal Lands Transportation Program. The estimated cost to complete the project is between $8 million and $12 million. LB Civil Construction, Inc. was awarded the contract on May 15, 2017.
Visitors should expect up to one-hour delays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 20 minute delays from 6-7 a.m. and 7-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. both lanes will close for 10 hours with one pass-through at 8 p.m. and another at 11:30 p.m. Uphill traffic first, downhill traffic will follow after the uphill traffic has successfully cleared the construction zone. Once both lanes of traffic have been cleared, the construction zone will close to all traffic, until the top of the next hour. No delays are expected Friday through Sunday and on holidays, unless the highway is limited to one lane.
Vehicles longer than 22 feet will be prohibited on the Generals Highway starting March 19, between Hospital Rock and the Giant Forest Museum. This closure will remain in effect until construction has been completed. During construction, the FHWA will close one lane of the highway by blocking it with K-rail. This will narrow the highway, making it unable to safely accommodate vehicles over 22 feet. The highway closure is being extended to the nearest turn around locations for vehicles of that size to the south at Hospital Rock and north at Giant Forest Museum.
Visitors with vehicles over 22 feet hoping to visit the giant sequoias are advised to either make a shuttle reservation prior to day of visit, or enter via the Hwy 180 northern entrance to these parks.
The Generals Highway was completed in 1935 and is the primary artery through Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The Generals Highway is a narrow and winding road that was not designed or constructed for travel by the larger vehicles that are in use today. Since its original construction, the Generals Highway has needed periodic repairs to address structural deficiencies and normal wear that have led to deterioration. However, in 1993 the design and reconstruction of the entire 28-mile Generals Highway began. Reconstruction was needed because the Generals Highway was in poor condition with several failures, had short sight distances, several drainage issues, and did not meet FHWA design standards.
To date, reconstruction of the Generals Highway in Sequoia National Park has been completed between the south Park entrance and Deer Ridge.