Commuters facing Route 9 closure in Hillsboro
HILLSBORO, Va. – As the state of Virginia remains under a Stay at Home Order due to COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Highways has taken advantage of the decrease in traffic to close down Route 9 through the town of Hillsboro to work on the ReThink9 project, a comprehensive traffic-calming, pedestrian safety and infrastructure project in Hillsboro. The intent of the project is to relieve severe congestion for the more than 17,000 daily vehicle trips through the town, while improving safety for pedestrians and drivers.
More than 100 detour signs have been constructed and installed in Loudoun and Clarke counties in Virginia as well in Jefferson County.
The complete closure of Route 9 went into effect on Monday, causing commuters to detour around the one-mile stretch.
“For the vast majority of daily commuters heading east, who originate from West Virginia, the safest and fastest route will be to use the four-lane (West Virginia) Route 340 to Virginia Route 7,” said Hillsboro Mayor Roger Vance.
However, there are local detours around the work zone providing access to such attractions as wineries, vineyards, breweries and restaurants close to the Hillsboro town limits.
“For the bulk of all commuters, the local Hillsboro detour will not be a good alternative, as speed limits on the two-lane detour routes have been reduced, and will be vigorously enforced,” Vance said.
He speculated that the portion of the project warranting the full closure of the road through Hillsboro should be completed by mid-June, while the entire ReThink9 project is scheduled for completion in May 2021.
While the current phase of the project involves the complete closure of the roads, additional work will need to be done over the course of the next year, requiring some additional road closures and detours.
When the project is completed, two single-lane roundabouts will be at the eastern and western entrances to Hillsboro to slow traffic and mitigate congestion, according to the ReThink9 website.
The project is focusing on traffic-calming raised and at-grade crosswalks in a connected sidewalk system, which will provide for pedestrian safety, along with multi-modal paths and trails to facilitate safe pedestrian and bicycle access through the town. The project will also give residents and visitors more than 50 safe on-street parking spaces, as key businesses and historic assets of the town will be more connected by the project.
The full closure of Hillsboro now will allow higher productivity and efficiency and lessen the impacts to residents, works, school children and motorists as the project continues over the next year, said a release from the Virginia DOT. The release also ensured that strict COVID-19 protocols would be in place for the project and the construction teams.