The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering this week approved new bicycle routes in Missouri and Minnesota, as well as some realignments in Kentucky, to be formally included in the U.S. Bicycle Route System. The approvals were passed by the committee during AASHTO's Spring Meeting in Providence, R.I.
"The partnership between state departments of transportation, Adventure Cycling, local transportation agencies, cycling groups, and the Federal Highway Administration has produced significant results over the past several years," said AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright. "The routes are part of an emerging bike route network that is connecting communities of all types, all across the country."
AASHTO's committee approved U.S. Bicycle Route (USBR) 45, which runs the entire length of the Mississippi River in Minnesota from the headwaters at Itasca State Park in the northwest part of the state through the Iowa border. The route, also known as the Mississippi River Trail, spans 700 miles. USBR 76 in Missouri, known as the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail, was also approved by the committee. The route begins at the Mississippi River in Chester, Ill., and passes through the Ozark Mountains. Lastly, Kentucky's USBR 76 realignments were approved by the committee. The 564-mile route was first designated in 1982, but was updated after a review by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
To date, more than 5,600 miles of U.S. Bicycle Routes have been designated in 10 states: Alaska, Kentucky, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Virginia. The system is continuing to grow, as more than 40 states are working to create more U.S. Bicycle Routes.
The U.S. Bicycle Route System operates through the Adventure Cycling Association with partners from state transportation departments, FHWA, and nonprofit organizations such as East Coast Greenway Alliance and the Mississippi River Trail, Inc.
Adventure Cycling, which dedicates staff to support USBR, produces cycling routes and maps for North America, organizes more than 70 tours each year, and publishes bicycle-travel information for its more than 46,000 members. The group also supports USBR through its members, donors, business sponsors, and its "Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It" fundraiser.
Additional information on the U.S. Bicycle Route System is available here.