AASHTO Approves US Bike Route 50 through the Northern Panhandle
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) officially approved to designate US Bike Route 50 (USBR50) through the northern panhandle of West Virginia, namely Brooke and Hancock Counties, closing a small gap that connects Indiana and Ohio to Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Washington DC.
The United States Bike Route System is a network of signed interstate bike routes facilitating long distance travel by bicycle. These routes are intended to promote active lifestyles and bicycle tourism. United States Bike Route 50 (USBR 50) currently stretches from Indiana through Pennsylvania on to Washington DC and will eventually go all the way to San Francisco, CA.
“The approved route for USBR 50 in West Virginia is an important connection between Pennsylvania and Ohio and this short section features low-volume rural roads, beautiful scenery, varied terrain, and the hospitable City of Weirton.” – Perry Keller, WV Dept of Transportation
The WVDOH contracted with HDR Engineers, Weirton, WV to study various alignments of USBR50 through the Northern Panhandle. The study identified five on and off-road alignments to extend USBR 50 from the Market Street Bridge in Steubenville, OH to the Panhandle Trail at the Pennsylvania state line.
A public meeting was held in September 2018 to present the alternative alignments for the designation of US Bike Route 50 (USBR50) through the northern panhandle of West Virginia. Following the review of the preceding alternatives, alignment #2 was chosen as the most flexible and practical alignment for USBR50 in West Virginia. The alignment follows WV SR2, WV SR2 (Main St – Weirton), Cove Road, Harmon Creek Road and the Panhandle Rail Trail.
The approved route for USBR50 provides the most direct connection to Ohio and Pennsylvania. It also provides shopping, food and service opportunities as long distance cyclists ride through the City of Weirton.
“This designation puts the Northern Panhandle on the national map for bike touring, and connects West Virginia’s active transportation network with those of other states.” – Michael Paprocki, Brooke Hancock Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission