We are sharing here text from the recent editorial published in the September 4, 2019 issue of Loudoun Now (page 40):
The Inconvenience is Certain, The Duration is Not
Since the triumphant celebration on the steps of the Old Stone School a year ago after construction funding finally was secured, Hillsboro’s long-planned Pedestrian Safety and Traffic Calming Project has continued on a bumpy path.
The latest obstacle is the protest being mounted against the possibility of closing Rt. 9 during construction to get the work done more affordably and more quickly. The criticism is that this would impose an inconvenience on motorists, increase highway dangers and overburden other roads around the region. Clarke County’s alarmist official statement dismisses the suffering of “a village of less than 200 residents” as trivial in comparison. Folks also weren’t too concerned about Hillsboro when West Virginia built a four-lane highway to feed even more cars and trucks through the town’s narrow gap, prompting this effort years later to offer some relief.
Hillsboro’s Rt. 9 project, no matter what form it takes, will be disruptive to the regional road network. That’s not a surprise. It’s been a key element of concern for a decade as the plans have percolated. The question is—and has been—how to complete the work as effectively as possible. Cost, safety and convenience must all be factored into that answer.
Although the idea of closing Rt. 9 entirely to traffic initially seems dramatic and easy to dismiss, the prospect of dealing with construction delays and detours for three years also is daunting. Either way, some 16,000 pass-through vehicles will be delayed or detoured each day during construction.
Is there merit in limiting those impacts to as little as nine months rather than letting them continue for three years? There’s a strong element of common sense in that thought process.