The Hillsboro Traffic Calming Project, ReThink9, has made tremendous progress, with the construction contractor launching multiple work crews of 50 to 60 workers taking full advantage of the road closure to advance on all fronts. For the past four weeks, the Town is—quite literally—a work zone, for 10 to 12 hours a day, six days a week, as Archer Western has mobilized multiple crews that are concurrently building the major components across the site.

The Town’s serious public health issue caused by a collapsed water main in early April will be fully addressed by late June with the new drinking water main installed and all water customers reconnected. After final inspections by Virginia Department of Health and the final engineer certifications, the Town will then request the lifting of the Consent Order and Boil Water Notice imposed on Hillsboro for more than two decades. The Town anticipates that by early July it will be able to provide residents and businesses with safe potable drinking water. Only because of the full road closure implementation could this have been accomplished so quickly.

State and local law enforcement and the county first responders report that the regional and local detours have worked extremely well, with very few minor incidents to date. Mayor Vance noted, “We’ve had tremendous support from County and State law enforcement to ensure safety. The data shows that commuters and area residents have adapted to the detour route, and the projections for patterns of usage have proven to be accurate.”

Under the full road closure, the level of productivity, efficiency and, most important, safety for the workers, residents and motorists is extremely high. Within the very narrow Hillsboro corridor, lined by old and brittle Verizon poles carrying live Dominion powerlines, along with heavy truck and equipment, there is little room for safe vehicular passage. While trenching and burying electric and communications duct banks and large manhole vaults, extensive stormwater drainage structures, drinking water main and sanitary sewer force mains, and the many dozens of lateral crossings, keeping workers safe while maintaining traffic would be a tremendous challenge.

Given the great progress that is so evident under the emergency full-road closure, and in light of the ongoing Covid-induced reduction in traffic, and with schools closed, the Town, VDOT and Archer Western began joint consideration of extending this full closure period beyond late June—as was originally planned to ensure completion of the water main and service connections—to the start of the school year in mid-August. This would then be followed by the partial closure, which allows one-lane eastbound morning peak traffic and one-lane westbound traffic on weekends.

The Town will be examining how the extension of the current closure can result in limiting full closures later in the year and how it may expedite the opening to two-way traffic over weekends, thus providing direct access to our area agritourism businesses this fall during their peak season.