Highway Patrol saturating deadly stretch of 160

The latest fatal accident on a dangerous stretch of Highway 160 prompted the Nevada Highway Patrol to regulate drivers on the road linking Las Vegas and Pahrump.

State troopers have been out in full force since July 27 on a stretch of Highway 160 between both sides of the hump, handing out tickets to unsafe drivers.

During the first 10 days of the saturation project, which runs through Friday, Highway Patrol troopers conducted 311 traffic stops.

Resulting from those stops 284 citations were handed out, with 237 tickets for speeding and 20 tickets for hazardous moving. There were also 27 enforcement contacts to assist motorists.

The increased patrol is not uncommon, as Trooper Chelsea Stuenkel said the Highway Patrol routinely concentrates on spots that have heightened attention on them.

“Our motor squad, we call them our ‘Problem Solving Squad,’ they saturate different areas of the valley based on request of the public, like seeing a lot of complaints on an area, or they just see a need,” Stuenkel said. “They just rotate different areas of the valley and our jurisdiction.”

In a five-year crash study, the Nevada Department of Transportation found that the stretch of road between mile marker 11 and mile marker 22 saw an average crash rate almost double the rate for the average NDOT maintained rural principal arterial.

A crash on Highway 160 at mile marker 16 last month took the life of a 61-year-old Henderson man, as the vehicle he was a passenger in was traveling eastbound and was struck head-on by a vehicle driven by a 24-year-old female traveling in the westbound lane while she attempted to pass a slower vehicle.

A more long-term solution to making the stretch of road safer is in the works, as the NDOT said that a $30 million improvement project goes out to bid this month, calling for the widening of a 5-mile section of state Route 160 between mile markers 11 and 16, from the state Route 159 interchange to just before Mountain Springs.

The work, which will widen the area from two to four lanes, should break ground early next year and is planned to be completed in the early months of 2017.