An idea to build a bike path along Lutak Road will advance to the Haines Borough Assembly after the borough’s Tourism Advisory Board unanimously backed the suggestion last week.

“There are a lot of users on that road, and I would like us to begin the discussion of how we can ask the state to widen (the road), put a bike path (on it),” said board chair Barbara Nettleton. “I feel like it’s only a matter of time before there’s an incident.”

The board adopted a motion to ask the assembly to “take up dialogue” about a potential path.

Pointing to new e-bike and scooter rentals and commercial bike tours, Nettleton said she has noticed a rise in commercial use of the state-owned road that connects the Haines townsite to the Chilkoot Lake State Recreation Site, a popular destination for residents and visitors alike.

“We love seeing the commercial activity, and there’s potential for more businesses, but not with the current infrastructure,” said Nettleton, co-owner of Takshanuk Mountain Trail, a tourist attraction at 7 Mile Lutak Road.

If the borough wants to move ahead with the proposal, likely its only path is through the state’s federally funded Transportation Alternatives Program, Alaska Department of Transportation spokesperson Sam Dapcevich said Wednesday.

The borough would need to sponsor the project or request the state to sponsor it. Then DOT would need to select the project among a pool of statewide nominations. Dapcevich said the project timeline would be about five to seven years.

A Transportation Alternatives Program grant would require a 9% borough match, Dapcevich said. And the state likely would require the borough to manage and maintain the bike path.

Dapcevich said DOT has not yet set a date for the next call for applications.

He said another way for the state to construct a Lutak bike path would be if DOT were doing a major project on the road. But no such plans are scheduled.