Following two months of uncertainty, Hillsboro residents, business owners and commuters are finally getting an idea of what kinds of road closures and detours they can expect during construction of the town’s Traffic Calming and Pedestrian Safety Project, which will install two roundabouts and build sidewalks and bury utility lines.
The Town of Hillsboro came to an agreement with VDOT on that plan of action on Wednesday—a plan that “addresses many of the concerns and uncertainties raised by our local area businesses as well as our regional stakeholders,” according to a statement from Mayor Roger Vance on Thursday.
The plan calls for Rt. 9 to be closed all day, except for a single eastbound lane to be opened from 4 a.m. until the end of the morning rush hour. Work would also accommodate weekend westbound traffic, with one westbound lane to be opened from 3 p.m. on Fridays to 5 p.m. on Sundays. For a total of 60 non-consecutive days spread out over the project’s 14-month timeline, the road will remain closed all day.
“We will do our best to work with the contractor to ensure full closures are implemented during the times that will be least disruptive to local business activity,” Vance stated. “The daily closure significantly reduces the duration of the full road closure that had been previously proposed.”
Because at least one lane of Rt. 9 will be closed at all times during construction, signage will guide traffic down local and regional detours. The local detour will take traffic down Rt. 719, which begins in Hillsboro as Stoney Point Road and turns into Woodgrove Road as it winds south toward Round Hill.
Vance said the majority of eastbound Rt. 9 traffic would use Rt. 340 as the main detour.
The town also plans to entice the selected construction firm with financial incentives for the timely completion of certain components, reduced full road closures and an early project completion.
“I am very pleased that we have been able to negotiate a balanced plan that shortens the overall construction duration, shortens any full road closures and enables access to our in-town and western businesses than the previous plan,” Vance stated.
VDOT is expected to stamp its final approval on the traffic plan by the end of September. Once that happens, the town will provide residents with more details about the construction plan and road detour. Vance previously said he expects the town to select a construction firm by October and get the project rolling by the end of this year.
In the meantime, town leaders will address local business owners at the next Greater Hillsboro Business Alliance meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 30 at the Old Stone School.
Residents and commuters are encouraged to sign up for updates on all those projects at rethink9.com.
In early August, the town received bids from three construction firms seeking to handle the road project that all came in above estimates. In response, the town and VDOT began working to find ways to reduce project costs, ultimately finding that periodic full road closures through town would, for the most part, do the trick.
In addition to the Rt. 9 project, Vance on Thursday also announced that VDOT has agreed to requests made by the town and Supervisor Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) to accelerate the regular maintenance and repaving of Hillsboro-area roads.
According to Vance’s statement, those will include repairs to Rt. 719, as well as Cider Mill Road, which is not planned to be a part of the Rt. 9 project detour and, as such, will see the installation of “local traffic only” signage.