In the early 1960s, the Atomic Energy Commission proposed, as part of the Plowshare Program, "Project Carryall". This would have blasted a new path for I-40 & the AT&SF main line through the Bristol Mountains, between Needles & Barstow, using megatons of thermonuclear explosives.
My impression of the area is that this could only have been an improvement.
"I appreciate SDF but it's a general-purpose server and the name doesn't make it obvious that it's about art." - Eugen Rochko