YOSEMITE — Starting Sunday night, Yosemite National Park traffic will be delayed at the Wawona Tunnel where the east portal frames an iconic panoramic view of El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridalveil Fall.
Delays will continue through Dec. 13 as crews work on repairs and maintenance mostly inside 4,230-foot-long tunnel, Yosemite leaders said Wednesday. The tunnel is not expected to be completely shut down at any point in the project.
The work will begin each week on Sunday nights and continue through Friday afternoons. No work will be done on Saturdays or holidays, Yosemite officials said.
The vintage 1933 tunnel was bored through solid granite along Wawona Road, which is Highway 41 outside the park. It is the most direct route from Fresno into Yosemite Valley.
At the east end of the tunnel is Tunnel View, a favorite stopping place for famous visitors, such as John F. Kennedy in 1962 and Queen Elizabeth II of England in 1983.
Tourists flock to the parking lots just outside the east end of the tunnel and take photographs of valley and the stunning granite cliffs.
The tunnel and surrounding area got a $3.3 million renovation five years ago to more safely accommodate the thousands of tourists who pass through during busy summer days.
Now, crews will clean and repair the tunnels walls, floor and ceiling. They will seal cracks and joints. The drainage system will be improved as well. Throughout the project, traffic will be controlled with the use of a pilot car that will lead vehicles through the construction area. The public is urged to drive cautiously.