There are some al­ter­na­tives to idling in traf­fic for hours in hol­i­day traf­fic near Primm.

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mick Ak­ers

Noth­ing says a hol­i­day is over for mo­torists trav­el­ing be­tween Las Ve­gas and South­ern Cal­i­for­nia like the miles-long traf­fic backup that oc­curs on In­ter­state 15 south­bound near Primm.

With over 20-mile back­ups ex­pe­ri­enced the Sun­day fol­low­ing Thanks­giv­ing, trav­el­ers’ hol­i­day glee turned to gloom even be­fore leav­ing the Sil­ver State.

If idling in traf­fic for hours doesn’t sound like an ideal travel sit­u­a­tion, take heart: There are al­ter­na­tives.

Driv­ers who don’t mind go­ing off the beaten path, can look no fur­ther than State Route 160 (Blue Di­a­mond Road) for the be­gin­ning of three-high­way, 136-mile trip around the vir­tual park­ing lot.

“It’s out of the way but you won’t be in bumper to bumper traf­fic,” the Ne­vada High­way Pa­trol tweeted just be­fore noon last Sun­day, as it warned driv­ers of the backup on I-15.

Jump­ing on State Route 160 from I-15, mo­torists will find a wind­ing stretch of road lead­ing out of Las

Ve­gas — two lanes in each di­rec­tion for the first 18 miles — that skims the edge of Red Rock Canyon, ahead of en­ter­ing Moun­tain Springs.

Upon en­ter­ing Moun­tain Springs, the road is con­densed to one lane in each di­rec­tion, as a $58.6 mil­lion widen­ing project is un­der­way. The project, due to be com­pleted in Au­gust 2020, will cre­ate two lanes in each di­rec­tion, add a raised me­dian bar­rier and other fea­tures on the sixmile stretch of road.

Ex­it­ing the moun­tain, the road goes back to two lanes in each di­rec­tion and driv­ers are led to the town of Pahrump, where there are plenty of din­ing op­tions and gas sta­tions for those who like to stay filled up while on a road trip.

As mo­torists en­ter the heart of Pahrump they’re led to State Route 372 where they be­gin a 27-mile stretch to Cal­i­for­nia, first trav­el­ing through a pair of round­abouts, ex­it­ing to one lane in each di­rec­tion.

Al­most im­me­di­ately upon pass­ing the Cal­i­for­nia state line on State Route 372, the road gets a lit­tle bumpy for a cou­ple of miles but then smooths out, with short stretches of wavy travel.

When State Route 372 dead ends into Cal­i­for­nia High­way 127 in Shoshone, Cal­i­for­nia, driv­ers can stop at the Chevron gas sta­tion to stock up on re­fresh­ments or to top off their gas ahead of the 56-mile stretch to Baker, Cal­i­for­nia.

High­way 127 fea­tures a drive on a fairly nar­row road, through desert and moun­tain­ous ter­rain, with in­ter­est­ing rock fea­tures strewn about the sur­round­ing land­scape. The road is wind­ing at times and fea­tures sev­eral dips.

Cell­phone ser­vice is spotty at times, but emer­gency phones are lo­cated at var­i­ous points on the side of the road in case of emer­gency.

As the “World’s Largest Ther­mome­ter” emerges in the dis­tance, the trip is al­most over. Af­ter pass­ing a row of gas sta­tions, fast food restau­rants and the space­ship-themed Alien Fresh Jerky and other retail stores in Baker, the I-15 on-ramp is just ahead.

Travel time on this route is es­ti­mated at 2 hours, 19 min­utes.

If end­ing up even fur­ther south on I-15 sounds like the route to go, a sec­ond al­ter­na­tive is avail­able.

Mo­torists can opt to take a 234mile de­tour through Las Ve­gas and Hen­der­son, down south through the Ne­vada desert, and past the Ne­vada-Cal­i­for­nia bor­der, even­tu­ally end­ing up in Barstow, Cal­i­for­nia. That’s 77 miles longer than Las Ve­gas to Barstow via I-15.

Start­ing on I-15, mo­torists can jump on the 215 Belt­way east­bound to U.S. 93 south­bound to In­ter­state

11, where they’ll exit at U.S. High­way 95 south­bound.

From there, mo­torists travel 77 miles, through the dry lake beds, Search­light, and Cal-Nev-Ari, Ne­vada, past the Ne­vada-Cal­i­for­nia bor­der un­til they ar­rive at In­ter­state 40.

From there mo­torists head west on I-40 for 137 miles un­til they ar­rive in Barstow, where sev­eral fast food and quick eat restau­rants and mul­ti­ple gas sta­tions are lo­cated. Trav­el­ers can fill their stom­achs and gas tanks to ready them for the home stretch into South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

This route will take you an es­ti­mated 3 hours 42 min­utes, which might be worth it on a hol­i­day week­end.

“Al­ter­nate travel routes can re­lieve mo­torist con­ges­tion and driver frus­tra­tion by free­ing up added ca­pac­ity along In­ter­state 15 near the Ne­vada-Cal­i­for­nia bor­der,” said Tony Il­lia, Ne­vada Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion spokesper­son. “It can also make for a smoother, safer com­mute with less traf­fic and re­duced ag­gra­va­tion.”

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