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Roundabouts may be coming to Route 159 near Red Rock, Route 160 in Pahrump

Cyclists ride their bike along the Charleston Blvd near Red Rock, on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye

By Mick Akers

Roundabouts could soon be coming to state Route 159 near Red Rock and at state Route 160 in Pahrump.

The Nevada Department of Transportation kicked off a virtual public meeting Tuesday regarding the long-term outlook of Routes 159 and 160, with four in-person meetings also scheduled this month.

The ongoing study takes into account crash data, land use, multimodal opportunities and traffic congestion on Route 160 from Las Vegas Boulevard in Las Vegas to Road Runner Road in Pahrump and on Route 159 from Route 160 to the 215 Beltway in Summerlin.

The preliminary recommended work is broken up into different sections depending on the highway and the area the work will take place. All plans are subject to change following the round of public meetings and further analysis.

Route 159

Plans for Route 159 include upgrades for the Red Rock area, which serves as a popular destination for residents and visitors.

Initial plans include adding four roundabouts at side streets that experience high use. Those include the entrance to Calico Basin, the Red Rock visitor center entrance, Red Rock Canyon overlook and the Red Rock scenic loop exit.

NDOT spokesman Justin Hopkins said roundabouts “can be used to help control corridor speeds and crash severity. … Their use is allowed in situations when traffic signals may not be warranted as required by federal guidelines.”

Increasing safety for those who use the scenic stretch of highway for cycling is also addressed by adding a buffer lane between the bike lane and the general purpose travel lane to keep vehicular traffic at a distance from cyclists. This would be in addition to the planned $100 million, 20-mile Red Rock Legacy Trail, set to be constructed in five phases.

“Initial public feedback has indicated there will still be desire for a subset of cyclists to still want to use S.R. 159 shoulders for biking,” Hopkins said.

A new traffic signal is set to be added on Route 159 at the Sky Vista Drive intersection in Summerlin. That is expected to be included in Phase 1 work of the Red Rock Legacy Trail set to begin next year.

Parking and trailhead upgrades are also in the plans for Middle Oak Creek trailhead, South Oak Creek trailhead and First Oak Creek trailhead.

Route 160 in Pahrump

Route 160 is set be widened from one travel lane in each direction to two travel lanes both ways from Road Runner to just past Hafen Ranch Road.

Widening the two-lane road to four lanes with a center turn lane or raised median island would provide a consistent roadway throughout the developed area.

In addition, roundabouts are slated to be added at Hafen Ranch, the entrance to the Mountain Falls community and at Calvada Boulevard. Improvements to the the busy intersection of Route 160 and State Route 372 are also in the tentative plans.

Plans also call for flattening the median slopes on a rural stretch of the highway from Mountain Springs to Pahrump.

Route 160 in Southwest Las Vegas

Initial plans call for widening Route 160 to four lanes in each direction from Fort Apache Road to Buffalo. It would be similar to the four-lane stretch in place between Rainbow Boulevard and Decatur.

An operational analysis of the stretch of Route 160 between Decatur and Interstate 15 is also part of the project. Potential upgrades for the stretch include roadway widening, frontage road systems, grade-separated intersections or a combination of the alternatives.

The public is asked to provide their comments, recommendations and concerns on the planned two highway upgrades online at through Oct. 7.

Contact Mick Akers at or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

In person public meetings

All will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with a formal presentation at 5:30 p.m.

Sept. 19 — Nye Communities Coalition: 1020 E. Wilson Road, Pahrump

Sept. 20 — Windmill Library: 7060 W. Windmill Lane, Las Vegas

Sept. 21 — Vistas Community Center: 11312 W. Parkside Way, Las Vegas

Sept. 22 — Blue Diamond Rec. Association: 2 Village Boulevard, Blue Diamond