I want to thank everyone who provided important input as the Town of Hillsboro and VDOT finalized the maintenance of traffic framework for the upcoming ReThink9 project.
Many elements were added or adjusted with input from in-town and area-wide citizens and businesses—north, south, east and west—as well as commuters and area jurisdictions that may be impacted. While some suggestions could not be incorporated, and some have voiced opposition to the project altogether, I’m confident that an equitable balance was reached to accommodate the most salient of the different—and often competing—stakeholder desires without compromising on safety for all and the ability to complete the project in a 12- to 14-month timeframe and limiting a prolonged 31-36 months of disruption on the Rt. 9 corridor.
This framework as approved by VDOT, regional and local detour maps and signage can be viewed at ReThink9.com. Please note, precise schedule, sequence of work and the elements of this plan are subject to change after the selection of a contractor.
Remember, ReThink9.com and the ReThink9 Dispatch e-newsletter will be your source for official information, updates and alerts that you can rely on throughout the duration of the project. We’ve also established the email address email@example.com where the project team and I can receive your questions and respond to you directly. We also welcome you to attend our monthly project information sessions, typically the second Tuesday of each month, at the Old Stone School, from 5 to 7 p.m. While I appreciate that social media affords a platform for a wide range of views and opinions, I caution you about the reliability of non-ReThink9 sources for important facts about the project.
I want to recap the major elements and highlight how your input was addressed.
For regional commuters and neighboring jurisdictions
I want to thank VDOT’s Northern Virginia and Staunton district teams, regional residents west of Hillsboro and Clarke and Jefferson County officials for recommending approaches to address concerns about high volumes of morning peak-hour traffic diverting into Clarke County. Three specific actions were taken:
- The two single-lane roundabouts are to be built concurrently during the first few months of the project with two-lane traffic maintained under normal VDOT flagging operations. Work will be restricted to off-peak hours.
- Only after roundabouts are functional—to maximize work zone safety and productivity—will lane closures begin and regional and local detours activated.
- To accommodate the peak morning commute on weekdays, one lane will be open to eastbound traffic to pass through the work zone, except during the limited full road closure phases.
- State Police will assign more officers to the Rt. 9, Rt. 7 and Rt. 287 corridors and will support our Loudoun County Sheriff Office.
For businesses in and west of Hillsboro
My sincere thanks to the several individual businesses and groups that have provided key data points and perspectives to refine our plan with specific actions:
- To accommodate in-town and area businesses, specifically Hill Tom Market and the wineries, breweries and bed-and-breakfast inns, we negotiated with VDOT to open a single westbound lane starting Friday afternoons through Sunday evenings. This allows Hill Tom to capture its heaviest Friday trade and lets the heaviest weekend flow of customers for area businesses to pass directly through Hillsboro—switching back to eastbound Sunday evenings to accommodate a direct route back east to their homes.
- Recognizing area businesses’ desire for weekend two-way traffic during construction, our intent is to work with our hired contractor toward opening two lanes of traffic on weekends as soon as practicable, but particularly during the wineries peak fall season—without extending construction duration.
- The Town, in cooperation with area businesses and VDOT, intends to install wayfinding signage along the local detour route guiding visitors to businesses.
- The Town is working with area business groups, Visit Loudoun, Loudoun’s Department of Economic Development and Chamber of Commerce to develop a robust “Open for Business” marketing campaign.
For our neighbors south of Hillsboro
Thanks to the many residents who have expressed their concerns and offered a number of ideas we have incorporated. We understand your concerns about additional traffic on the roads around Hillsboro and have negotiated with VDOT on a number of items:
- The only official “local detour” will be Rt. 719, Allder School Rd., Rt. 690.
- Cider Mill Road will not be a local detour. We negotiated with VDOT to limit traffic on Cider Mill by restricting to “Local Traffic Only,” installing “No Right Turn” signage from Rt. 9 and “No Left Turn” signage from Woodgrove Rd. We will allocate periodic law enforcement at these locations.
- We insisted that long-overdue maintenance, shoulder repair and repaving of Rt. 719 and Cider Mill Rd. is completed this fall.
- We will have posted truck restrictions, reduced speed limits, additional caution and warning signage be placed where warranted on these detours.
- We will utilize law enforcement to ensure safety on the project detours, enforce restrictions and to have a substantial presence during changes in traffic patterns for the project’s duration.
- We have and will continue to work with the Loudoun County Public Schools transportation department and with school bus supervisors and drivers on route scheduling during construction.
- After detour activation, we will meet with law enforcement to evaluate effectiveness and address issues that may arise.
For our neighbors in Round Hill
Thanks to the Round Hill mayor, town manager and VDOT for identifying potential impacts and measures to mitigate them:
- We will ensure prominent placement of signage indicating the local detour on Rt. 719 ends at the intersection with Allder School Road. Periodic law enforcement may be used.
- VDOT will work directly with Round Hill within the town boundary to discourage commuters from cutting through on Rt. 719 into the historic area of Round Hill.
For our neighbors in Purcellville
Thanks to the mayor and public works director for their input to identify potential impacts, and their offers of support.
- We will ensure prominent placement of signage indicating the local detour on Rt. 690 ends at the roundabout at Allder School Road and does not pass in front of Woodgrove High and Mountainview Elementary schools. Periodic law enforcement may be used.
- We have requested that VDOT coordinate with Purcellville on signal timing as warranted at the intersection of Rt. 287 and Hirst Road to accommodate additional traffic that may flow into town and to synch with the Town’s other signalization.
For residents northeast and in Lovettsville
Thanks to the mayor of Lovettsville and law enforcement for committing to monitor for impact on Rt. 287.
- 287 is not a recommended detour for this project, although we recognize there may be some additional traffic flowing to and from Maryland and West Virginia on Rt. 287.
- With the anticipated reduction of Rt. 9 traffic in general during much of the project, we’ve urged VDOT to consider some signal timing adjustments to allow a smoother flow and lessen queueing at the Rt. 9/Rt. 287 intersection.
For our businesses in the Town of Hillsboro
I’m very grateful for the cooperation and understanding from our in-town businesses and their input as we work though details and work individually with each to mitigate impacts.
- We will work directly with each in-town retail business to accommodate customer access and with other businesses to ensure they can maintain operations as all times.
- We are working collaboratively with Hill Tom Market on a variety of fronts. I want to thank them for their professional and congenial interactions. We know that no local business will be as impacted and thus have taken direct actions to help mitigate those impacts, including the opening of one lane westbound by 2 p.m. on Fridays in recognition of Friday afternoons as Hill Tom’s peak flow. We will work with our contractor to ensure safe parking areas for Hill Tom customers in the daily morning rush as well as Friday and weekends. We are taking initiatives that will directly support Hill Tom, including making Town supply purchases from them and encouraging residents to patronize them during construction and beyond.
- The Town will install specific business wayfinding signage and will promote businesses via its own “Hillsboro Open for Business” campaign.
- The Town will offer the Old Stone School as a facility for a “pick up” location or “pop up” market for our local and regional businesses as appropriate.
For citizens within the Town of Hillsboro
Thanks to all of you for your patience, perseverance and thoughtful input thus far and for your ongoing engagement as we work through the many logistical issues that will arise. I know that the daily burden of construction will fall most heavily on you.
- We have, through this revised plan using partial and full closures, cut the construction duration by more than half to 12-14 months and reduced costs—while maintaining the integrity and high quality of the project.
- The contractor will be required to ensure access for first responders into and through Hillsboro at all times.
- The contractor is required to ensure access to your home and ensure that all trips originating and/or ending within the town boundaries are accommodated.
- Your input with regard to basic logistical needs will continue to shape our plans on how to best address these needs.
- Our project team is committed to working directly with you in preparation and as issues arise during construction. Clear and open communication between us will be essential.
I also wish to express my sincere gratitude to our project team and let everyone know how diligently they have toiled on behalf of our residents and all of our stakeholders. And, special thanks to our first responders who have worked alongside us in the planning and for their commitment to work with all of us as this project is executed.
In closing, I once again thank all of you for the thoughtful input and the civil and productive dialogue. We are all in this together and we will all share in this burden and inconvenience. Please know that the Town of Hillsboro is committed to delivering this project safely, with the highest of quality and as quickly as possible. Route 9’s dramatic improvements within the Town boundaries will benefit residents and all who depend upon it, by ensuring safety and reducing congestion.
And, let me restate in no uncertain terms, that the Rt. 9 corridor businesses will stay open during this project and will emerge even stronger upon completion. To that end, I encourage all of us to support and frequent them during this temporary disruption.
Mayor Roger L. Vance
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