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Washington adds four new U.S. bike routes to its system

Barb Chamberlain, Active Transportation Division director, 509-869-2949 (mobile)

New bike route designations expand to southeast corner of the state

OLYMPIA – There’s exciting news for people who desire to travel long distance by bicycle – Washington state is expanding its U.S. Bicycle Route system (pdf 1.8mb) by more than 200 miles by designating four new routes in the southeast corner of the state.

U.S. bike routes direct bicyclists to a preferred route through a city, county or state, and provide options for riders to select among various route choices. These preferred routes tend to have lower vehicle traffic volumes and take advantage of scenic landscapes as well as connect riders to services, parks and points of interest. With the addition of these new route designations, Washington’s USBR system will expand to just over 1,000 miles throughout the state.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials approved the Washington State Department of Transportation’s latest application for the new USBR segments earlier this month.  

The new routes are:

  • USBR 20: 77.2 miles, starting at the city of Clarkston/Idaho state border along US 12 over the Columbia Plateau to the Columbia County line near the Lewis & Clark Trail State Park
  • USBR 40: 1.9 miles from town of Tekoa to the Idaho border; a small step to the beginning of an ambitious route plan to span 400 miles across Washington to La Push
  • USBR 81: 103.5 miles on state and county roads, from the northern border of Whitman County near the town of Tekoa to the city of Asotin, south of Clarkston
  • USBR 281: 23 miles, starting in the city of Pullman, heading southeast along State Route 27 and US 195 to the Washington/Idaho border

“The U.S. Bicycle Routes are an example of how state highways can serve as critical connections in an overall network for bicycling, as well as support tourism, just as they do for people traveling by car,” said Barb Chamberlain, director of WSDOT’s Active Transportation Division. "Bike travelers stop in more places and spend more on average than those traveling in motor vehicles, so bike routes are especially good for the economy in our small and rural towns."

The new routes are now eligible for national and global promotion and are authorized to use nationally recognized signage.