Dec 2019 letter to Nye County

Pahrump-Nevada widening of state highway 160

FOR:   December 3, 2019

TO:  Nye County Commissioners

John Koenig, Chair

Debra Strickland, Vice-Chair

Donna Cox

Leo Blundo

Lorinda Wichman

RE:  US DOT “RAISE” grant to widen Highway 160 + pave ancillary streets

Recently announcement of projects to be awarded grants by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s RAISE (formerly ‘BUILD’) program:

highlight a potential source of outside funding for widening the two-lane segments of Highway 160 north and south of the commercial center.  Widening approximately seven miles north from Basin to a point beyond Leslie Street, and six miles south from Rainbow to the splits would add up to 13 miles.  Additionally, paving another 3.5 miles of currently unpaved streets east of the 160-372 intersection would provide an alternate route around that increasingly congested area.  These would include:

  1. Higley Road from Commercial Drive to East Basin
  2. Panorama Road past Wheeler Pass to Wilson, and Oyster Street from Wilson to Wahkiakum
  3. Crawford Way + Smart Way from the RV park to Basin.
  4. Wheeler Pass Road from Wilson Road to Higley
  5. Wilson Road also needs to be reconstructed from Crawford to Wheeler Pass Road


All told this would involve approximately 33 lane miles as illustrated on the attached two graphics. With no right of way to acquire or environmental impacts to assess, I believe this is doable for the maximum $25 million federal contribution + another $5 million match from the state.  Proximity to so many local sources of aggregate and asphalt should lower construction costs.  I am appreciative for NDOT’s investment of roughly $100 million in 160 improvements over the past four years, but the route needs to be built out within Pahrump for the sake of safety, and to accommodate future growth.  The multiplier effect of this big infusion of federal money would quickly repay state coffers with increased sales, business and employment taxes.

This is a “shovel-ready” project and so fits the criteria as a RAISE project.  Our County Public Works Department should take the lead and then enlist NDOT’s expertise with finessing the grant application.  Deadline will be July 15, 2020, which may be the last year of this program with either a new Congress or administration in 2021.  So let’s go for it!


Bill Stremmel

Pahrump, NV  89048


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