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Route 9 at Hillsboro to remain closed through August

By Staff | Jul 3, 2020

The intent of the ReThink9 project is to relieve severe congestion for the more than 17,000 daily vehicle trips through the village, while improving safety for pedestrians and drivers. Courtesy photo

HILLSBORO, Va. – As the government continues to encourage commuters to work from home and local residents to partake in minimal travel, the decision has been made to continue working at a maximum level on the ReThink9 project, a comprehensive traffic-calming, pedestrian safety and infrastructure project in Hillsboro. With that end in mind, the Virginia Department of Transportation granted the request of the Town of Hillsboro to keep Route 9 closed at least through mid-August.

The intent of the ReThink9 project is to relieve severe congestion for the more than 17,000 daily vehicle trips through the village, 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. There are local detours in and around the Hillsboro area, where speed limits are fully enforced.

Hillsboro Mayor and Project Manager Roger Vance applauded VDOT’s partnership in continued traffic analysis and evaluation of innovative work requests during the COVID-19 shutdown, which has significantly reduced area highway traffic.

“In keeping with requests for extended lane closures, VDOT responded to allow us to maximize work during COVID-19 traffic reductions, Archer Western deployed multiple work crews to accelerate underground utility excavation and installation of encased duct banks and manhole vaults, communications conduit, storm water structures, drains and crossings, sanitary sewer main and laterals,” Vance said.

“It’s simply common sense and good governance to maximize productivity during this extraordinary time, when traffic remains light, schools are closed, the weather is favorable and we have extended daylight. And, as important as anything else, full road closure provides the highest level of safety for our workers, residents and motorists,” Vance said.

The road closure went into effect on May 4 and was originally scheduled to be reopened by late June with additional closures in the coming months. The extension at the current time will eliminate the need for those full closures later in the year.

“Extending the full closure now will lessen the project’s impact on our area agribusiness during their busiest fall season,” Vance said. “Weather permitting, this action now may even afford us the opportunity to open the road to two-way traffic by late November, months ahead of schedule.”

Work crews are on-site six to seven days a week to provide the highest productivity possible. The increase in productivity is intended to ensure completion of key elements of the project in August.

As part of the overall project, there will be two single-lane roundabouts at the eastern and western entrances to Hillsboro, to slow traffic and mitigate congestion, according to the ReThink9 website. The project will bring vast improvements to the town that has faced an ever-increasing number of vehicles that pass through its borders.

Traffic-calming raised and at-grade crosswalks in a connected sidewalk system will provide for pedestrian safety, while multi-modal paths and trails to facilitate safe pedestrian and bicycle access through the town will also be a focus. The project will add 50 safe on-street parking spaces to the town, along with connecting the town’s key businesses and historic assets.

If all remains on schedule, beginning Aug. 16, the project’s partial closure phase will begin, allowing one-lane eastbound traffic from 4-9:30 a.m. weekdays to accommodate commuters and then starting on Friday afternoons, one-lane westbound traffic through Sunday evenings to accommodate visitors to area agribusinesses.

“Extending the full closure has many benefits for motorists,” said Hillsboro Vice Mayor Amy Marasco, ReThink9’s deputy project manager. “It moves the project forward, it’s safer and it also minimizes the hassles we’ve already experienced with the temporary water line installation under flagger operations, as that prompted queues lasting as long as 25 minutes, because of alternating single-lane travel.”