The Town of Hillsboro announced today an agreement with VDOT for the acceleration of planned full closures of Rt. 9 within the town to coincide with Gov. Northam’s ongoing stay-at-home executive order, which has resulted in a significant reduction in daily traffic.
Under the agreement, the full closure of Rt. 9 within the town and implementation of local and regional detours will begin on or about May 4 and last into mid- to late-June.
During the full road closure, the town also will install new drinking water mains to replace temporary above-ground lines that were laid out after a series of main breaks that occurred earlier this month. The Virginia Department of Health has urged the town to accelerate the water main installation to protect public health. That work had been scheduled to occur during the summer months.
Under the original plans, the firstpartial closure of the road had been expected after Labor Day, with the first of up to three planned periods of full road closures totaling 60 days not expected until November. But project managers, seeing a recent reduction of daily traffic by at least 40 percent, hope the schedule change ultimately will result in less disruption to the community.
“During this extraordinary time of sheltering in place, shuttered schools and businesses and a dramatic reduction in traffic on Rt. 9, taking this action now will lessen the impacts to residents, schools, businesses and motorists later,” said Mayor Roger Vance, who also is the ReThink9 road project manager.
“We, of course, did not anticipate the global pandemic and the resulting stay-at-home orders. But as the project management team and in full agreement with VDOT—recognize that with fewer motorists on Rt. 9 and with schools closed—we needed to actively explore and now be able to implement road construction work thattakes advantage of less traffic,” said Vice Mayor Amy Marasco.
Vance said area businesses, residents and officials have been supportive of the schedule change. “This is a great example of common sense and nimble decision making,” he said.
It is not yet clear how the new direction will alter the detailed construction sequencing of the project, but the work is still on track for completion by May 2021, town leaders said.
“We are extremely pleased with the cooperation and coordination we’ve had with VDOT and our contractor Archer Western to adjust the schedule and sequencing of work to make this possible,” Vance said. “By continuing to use a data-driven decision-making process, the managers at VDOT and the town project team are ensuring this will not only allow higher productivity and efficiency, but most critically it will improve the safety for residents, workers, school children and motorists.”
As for the detours, nearly 100 detour and construction signs, including several remotely controlled electronic message boards, will be installed across Loudoun and Clarke counties and into West Virginia. During the closure, Rt. 9 in town will be restricted to town residents, first responders and delivery trucks. Through truck traffic will be directed to use the regional detour of Rt. 7 and Rt. 340. No through trucks will be permitted on the local detour route, which will use Stony Point Road, Woodgrove Road, Allder School Road and Hillsboro Road. Only Local traffic only will be permitted to use Cider Mill Road. All motorists originating west of Hillsboro will be directed to return to Rt. 9 eastbound via the Hillsboro detour rather than following Rt. 719 into Round Hill to access Rt. 7.
“With three-week’s advance notice, we are confident our local and regional partners and the traveling public will be well informed and prepared for this change in plans,” Vance said, adding the town will be holding several virtual meetings with residents and businesses in the coming days to provide logistical details and to answer questions.
Vance is encouraging residents, businesses and local and regional officials to stay informed on the project at the ReThink9.com website, where detour maps, project updates, traffic alerts and project details are posted. Those interested also may sign up for the ReThink9 Dispatchemail updates.