JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — Missouri and Kansas officials are working to designate sections of Route 66 as a national bicycle route.

The U.S. Bicycle Route System is the national cycling route network serviced by state and local governments. The goal of the system is to connect bicycle routes across the country for safer, long-distance cycling, the Joplin Globe reported .

The designation for portions of the Mother Road could allow each state's Department of Transportation to map and post signs for cyclists along their sections of the route.

Missouri is closest to reaching its designation, said Patrick Tuttle, director of the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau. He said that state agencies must make the April submission deadline to be approved this year.

"The feedback has been very good and very positive," Tuttle said. "They all understand the value of Route 66 and the value of tourism coming through."

The designation could make it safer for motorists and cyclists traveling along the route, and could economically benefit municipalities along the road, according to Tuttle.

"It will increase (cyclists) over several years, because there would be more awareness for the multiday, multistate cyclists who come through," he said. "The more they have the visibility to where they're going, the more apt they are to come this direction."

Tuttle has been working closely with the Missouri Transportation Department, which must complete and submit the paperwork to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

If approved, Missouri would become the first of eight states that Route 66 travels through to receive the designation. Tuttle said the state hopes to make an official announcement in June if designated this spring.

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Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com