Both associations said in a joint statement that the new routes are a momentous step toward creating an official U.S. Bicycle Route System, which will become the largest official national cycling network on the planet.
"We are pleased that the collaboration with Adventure Cycling has resulted in the approval of these new bicycle routes and we look forward to continuing the implementation of the national corridor plan that was endorsed by AASHTO's membership in partnership with the bicycling community," said AASHTO Executive Director John Horsley.
The new routes have been under development since AASHTO's Board of Directors approved the national corridor plan for the USBRS in October 2008.
"The day after AASHTO approved the corridor plan, volunteers contacted our office and asked if they could start developing USBR 20 from Marine City to Ludington," said Josh DeBruyn, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the Michigan Department of Transportation. "Management supported the idea that this project would be a grassroots effort, and it's worked out tremendously."
ACA said AASHTO's support for this project is crucial in earning the support of federal and state agencies, and provides a major boost to bicycling and route development for non-motorized transportation.
"It's an important achievement," said Ginny Sullivan, USBRS project coordinator at ACA. "We've appreciated Michigan's very methodical approach over the past two-and-a-half years, providing a model for other states to be successful in their efforts."
In all of these states, tourism and economic development revenue were oft-cited goals for communities joining the effort to establish these new routes. For example, as resolutions of support from the communities along USBR 20 arrived at the DOT office in Michigan, the common component was the economic benefits these tourism and transportation corridors will provide to the cities and towns along the route.
Adventure Cycling provides technical assistance to states working on route implementation. And the organization has provided dedicated staff support to the U.S. Bicycle Route System project since 2005.
More information is available at www.adventurecycling.org/usbrs.