Las Vegas and Pahrump’s main artery up for potential road improvements

Site of a fatal crash on northbound state Route 160 near Pahrump on Sept. 5, 2021. (NHP)

Consistently one of the more dangerous roads in Southern Nevada, state Route 160 is being eyed for another improvement project.

The main road for those traveling between Las Vegas, Pahrump and beyond, S.R. 160 has undergone two recent widening projects near and in the Mountain Springs area, which heightened safety on the road.

The Road Warrior used to make the trip to and from Pahrump daily when he worked as a reporter at the Pahrump Valley Times. The improvements made by those two earlier projects can’t be understated. Previously, serious and fatal crashes would routinely shut down the road for hours at a time.

With the Las Vegas Valley expanding, development keeps inching farther and farther down the 160 to where it intersects with state Route 159, the road that leads to the town of Blue Diamond and Red Rock Canyon. Improvements on that route are also being considered by the Nevada Department of Transportation.

The project’s parameters include about a 70-mile stretch of S.R. 160 from Las Vegas Boulevard to Roadrunner Road in Pahrump. It also includes about 16 miles of S.R. 159 from the S.R. 160 junction to the 215 Beltway in Summerlin.

Las Vegas S.R. 160 stretch

Between 2015 and 2020, there were eight fatalities along the S.R. 160 corridor — also known as Blue Diamond Road — from the S.R. 159 intersection to South Las Vegas Boulevard. That includes two pedestrian fatalities.

This stretch of the S.R. 160 corridor has the highest amount of delays due to the boom in residential, commercial and retail construction in recent years. That frequently results in additional crashes.

The area’s urban features also introduce more vulnerable road users, including pedestrians and bicyclists, within the Highway 160 corridor.

NDOT will look at opportunities to reduce current traffic delays and increase safety for all users of the road.

Rural S.R. 160 stretch

During that same five-year period there have been 14 fatalities along the S.R. 160 corridor from west of the S.R. 159 intersection to the Clark County line, just past Mountain Springs.

NDOT made improvements along this stretch of the 160 between 2017 and 2020. The upgrades included adding an additional lane and installing a median barrier to avoid head-on collisions. The study will evaluate the effectiveness of these changes and identify any other potential improvements that could be made to this corridor.

Pahrump S.R. 160 stretch

The Pahrump portion of S.R. 160 saw five fatalities between 2015 and 2020, according to NDOT data. This stretch includes the S.R. 160 corridor from the Nye County line to Roadrunner Road on the north side of Pahrump.

The intersection of state Route 372 and S.R. 160 experiences a higher number of crashes along the corridor. S.R. 372 is one of the main roads that leads to Death Valley.

NDOT’S study will look at options to improve safety along the corridor by evaluating sight distance, traffic operations and the ability to safely navigate through traffic in the area.

S.R. 159 stretch

Between 2015 and 2020 there were five fatalities along the S.R. 159 corridor and over 350 crashes.

The route is popular for cyclists and has seen 11 bicycle-involved crashes.

The study will look at possible projects and research additional needs to increase safety of both vehicular and vulnerable users along the corridor.

A virtual public meeting to gather residents’ input on the possible road improvements will wrap up on Wednesday. So, NDOT urges anyone who wants to provide feedback to do so before then.

Interested parties can access the virtual meeting 24/7 through Wednesday at www.ndotsr160.com. NDOT plans to have short and long term needs identified in addition to funding sources and policy needs determined by the end of the year.

“At NDOT we are committed to enhancing safety and mobility on state Routes 160 and 159,” Director Kristina Swallow said in a statement. “We have partnered with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, Clark County, Nye County, and other stakeholders to study these two important corridors.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter. Send questions and comments to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com.