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AASHTO Approves More Than 550 Mi. of Trails in Utah

Wed September 08, 2021 - West Edition #19
UDOT


Newly designated bicycle routes will now connect riders from Utah to Idaho and Arizona in this developing national network of bicycle routes.
Newly designated bicycle routes will now connect riders from Utah to Idaho and Arizona in this developing national network of bicycle routes.
Newly designated bicycle routes will now connect riders from Utah to Idaho and Arizona in this developing national network of bicycle routes. As part of Utah’s new route system, there are 105 mi. of continuous safe and separated cycling trails located along the urbanized Wasatch Front.

National transportation officials recently approved more than 550 mil. of bike routes in Utah to the United States Bicycle Routes System (USBRS). These newly designated routes enhance safety and ease for biking in Utah.

The routes, approved by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), now boost Utah's total USBRS to around 960 mi. of streets, highways and trails for rider use throughout the state. Newly designated bicycle routes 77, 677, 877, 79 and 679 now connect riders from Idaho to Arizona in this developing national network of bicycle routes.

"These routes allow commuters, bicycle tourists and leisure cyclists a unique way to travel safely across Utah's beautiful and diverse landscape," UDOT Active Transportation Manager Heidi Goedhart said. "As more and more Utahns take advantage of active transportation, we expect to see less traffic congestion, greater economic development, and healthier citizens–three wins for communities everywhere."

Adventure Cycling, a national cyclist advocacy group, partnered with UDOT and Move Utah to develop this north/south, state-to-state route over the last four years. During that time, the group looked for routes that provided riders the most safety and protection, local points of interest, accommodations and bike friendly shops, among others.

Developing the route also required coordination with multiple groups. For example, UDOT coordinated with, and got permissions from, the Departments of Transportation in both Idaho and Arizona regarding state line tie-in locations. Similarly, whenever a route was not on a state road, the group acquired approval and letters of support from local jurisdictions.

There are several benefits that come from the USBRS designation. For example, with this designation, new signs will be installed to direct bicyclists to a preferred route through a city, county, or state. Additionally, the designated routes ensure that a rider's experience and safety is considered.

"Experiencing Utah by bicycle is a rewarding way to slow down, get off the highway and explore the state's scenic beauty," said Vicki Varela, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism. "These routes demonstrate the commitment of our state and local communities to build something better for both Utah residents and Utah visitors. "

As part of Utah's new route system, there are 105 mi. of continuous safe and separated cycling trails located along the urbanized Wasatch Front. The route also takes riders along beautiful rivers, parkways and vistas. Not only do these designations help bring bicycle tourism to Utah, but the benefits are also seen locally by assisting in building out and planning other active transportation facilities.

The USBRS application was submitted by UDOT in April of 2021, reviewed in May and approved the same month. To view all national routes, visit adventurecycling.com.




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