After three and a half months of full road closures, Rt. 9 through the Town of Hillsboro will partially reopen next Friday.
The road through the town limits is expected to reopen at 2 p.m. Aug. 14 to westbound traffic as crews continue work on the town’s $14.33 million Traffic Calming and Pedestrian Safety Project. For the remainder of the year, eastbound traffic will be allowed to pass through town from 6 p.m. on Sunday to 9:30 a.m. on Monday. From Tuesday to Friday, eastbound traffic will be allowed to pass through from 4 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Westbound traffic will be allowed to pass through the town from 2 p.m. on Friday to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The road will remain closed to eastbound traffic on weekends. Law enforcement officers will be in the town during the first weekend of the partial reopening to assist with the change in traffic patterns.
Drivers through town will navigate occasional twists and turns and a partially unpaved surface with dirt and gravel throughout. They will also drive around newly installed roundabouts on each end of town—at the Stony Point Road and Hillsboro Road intersections.
The regional and local detours will remain in place. The regional detour routes traffic originating farther west down Rt. 340 to Rt. 7. The local detour circumvents the town by following Stony Point Road, Woodgrove Road, Allder School Road and Hillsboro Road.
While cut-through traffic is prohibited on Cider Mill Road, commuters continue to use the route. The town continues to work with VDOT to address that concern and requested both a temporary speed reduction and increased law enforcement on the road.
The partial road reopening follows three and a half months of work amid a full road closure that began May 4 and was spurred by a water main break in late March—less than a month after the road project kicked off.
During the closure, Archer Western Corp. crews installed all eight planned utility vaults; more than half of the stormwater drainage piping; 70 percent of the stormwater structures and sanitary sewer mains and laterals; eight of the 13 retaining walls; and more than 75 percent of the electric and communications conduits.
Shirley Contracting crews also expedited the installation of the town’s new permanent water main and completed the town’s $3.2 million water project, which installed a new water system that now provides residents and businesses with more capacity and lifted the town’s 25-year-old boil water notice.
“This commonsense decision and our contractor’s nimbleness to completely re-sequence its work plan and marshal resources allowed a tremendous amount of the project’s heavy excavation and underground utility installation to be completed months ahead of schedule,” stated Mayor Roger Vance.
Because of the efficiency of work completed during the full road closure, town and road project leaders say there is no need to close the highway through town in full again for the rest of 2020. They are anticipating the project will wrap up about two and a half months ahead of schedule, in early April 2021.
The reopening is welcome news to area businesses hoping to see more customer traffic.
Jennifer Breaux, the general manager of Breaux Vineyards, which is located west of the town, said the full road closure has been “taxing on all of us” but that she’s hopeful the partial reopening will help increase business at least a little bit.
“I always try to remain positive,” she said. “We’ll all take what we can get at this point.”
Breaux said the full road closure through town and corresponding detours have sometimes affected her customers’ arrival times, since some have forgotten about the road closure and neglected to include extra drive time in their schedules. She said it’s important now to get the word out that Rt. 9 through Hillsboro will be partially open for the remainder of the year.
Bozzo Family Vineyards Proprietor Steve Bozzo said it’s hard to say whether the partial road reopening will make a difference on business, but he’s happy to see it. He said it’s also nice to know that town leaders aren’t looking to extend the full closure, like they did in early June when they announced the idea to extend the closure to mid-August.
One more full closure is planned in the final stages of the project early in 2010. Bozzo said if the closure is more than a “minor” one, his winery again would be impacted.