Hillsboro, Va., January 15, 2020—The Town of Hillsboro has released the proposed construction schedule for the Town-managed ReThink9 Traffic Calming and Pedestrian Safety Project. Archer Western Construction is expected to commence road work on March 4. The proposed schedule calls for “substantial completion” in early May 2021. According to Hillsboro Mayor and Project Manager Roger Vance, the project management team has worked closely with Archer Western in planning a schedule and sequence of work that maximizes efficiencies while taking into account the wide-ranging needs of residents, in-town and regional businesses, schools, neighboring jurisdictions and commuters.
“We’ve taken the time and care to reach out to all of the affected groups and to coordinate with Archer Western to create a schedule that will address many of the needs and concerns—and still get the job done on time and on budget,” said Vance. “While any construction schedule must be fluid, we believe the schedule framework presented is solid and expect completion within the contract’s 428 days.”
According to the proposed schedule, from March into late summer/early fall, work will be done under two-way traffic with normal flagging operations. The plan calls for the project’s two roundabouts to be operational in late summer or early fall, at which time one-lane operations and partial closures will begin and the local Hillsboro detour and the Regional detour will be activated.
With roundabouts completed, according to Vance, weekday eastbound morning traffic through the Hillsboro work zone will be permitted from 4 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., followed by full road closure within the Town to maximize productivity and safety. On Fridays at 2 p.m., a westbound lane through the Hillsboro work zone will be opened and remain open until Sundays at 5 p.m. to accommodate the Town’s businesses and the region’s visitor economy, Vance said. The one-lane operation will then revert to eastbound beginning at 6 p.m. on Sundays through Monday mornings until 9:30 a.m.
Between late fall of this year and early spring 2021, the project will also utilize three periods of complete closure of Route 9 within the Town of Hillsboro boundary. Vance said the precise timing of the closures—not to exceed a combined total of 60 days—will be dictated by the needs of the project but will be announced to the public at least two weeks prior. “At this point,” he said, “two of closures are expected to be late in the year and the third in Spring 2021. There are elements of this project that require extended full road closures, but our goal is minimize these periods to the shortest extent possible,” Vance said. He added that a significant financial incentive for minimizing the days of full closure and for accelerating project completion is included in the Archer Western contract.
Vance stressed that as with any major civil construction project, timing of work is dependent on a multitude of factors and precise dates for activities are always subject to change. “This is our best estimate of project timing—as of today—and we will keep the public informed as schedule changes are known. Our project website, ReThink9.com, will be the best source of project information, and I urge everyone to sign up for the ReThink9 Dispatch for real-time alerts.”
The Town has held multiple public meetings with residents, businesses, first responders, local and regional elected officials and school officials to inform the schedule, said Vance. “We are making every effort to accommodate the needs of businesses and commuters while meeting our obligations to ensure the safety of our workers and our residents and motorists while meeting the number one goal shared by all—get the project completed in the shortest time possible.
“We have and will continue to meet with law enforcement, first responders and school officials,” Vance said. “Law enforcement has committed additional resources for the Route 7 corridor and the local Hillsboro detour route. First responders are working with the Town on specific plans—by phases of the project—to ensure access to and through Hillsboro at all times. The Town continues to work with Loudoun County Public School bus operations regarding the detour. We are pleased the closures, partial and full, will only impact one school year.” The schedule also prohibits work on 2020 election days and holidays.
The Town has created a graphic depiction of anticipated traffic flows and lane closures for the duration of the project portraying the approximate time periods for each phase, Vance said. “This is only ‘Version 1.0,’ and as work progresses, the timing will likely shift, but the general sequence and timeframes should remain close. With so many people affected, we just want to be providing plenty of information up front—but with the caveat that the schedule is subject to change.”
The ReThink9 project team will be conducting outreach meetings with officials across the region to provide clear and accurate information about the project, its schedule and the detour routes, Vance said. “Our efforts to inform and educate motorists about the schedule, the detours and the conditions of the work zone are just beginning and will be ongoing via many channels throughout the project duration.”
The ReThink9 project addresses four longstanding public health and safety issues in Hillsboro: traffic congestion, speeding and unsafe pedestrian access; safe municipal drinking water; aging and failing septic systems; stormwater management. The project includes numerous traffic calming and pedestrian safety measures, congestion mitigation through construction of two single-lane roundabouts at eastern and western entrances to town, raised crosswalks, sidewalks and context-sensitive streetscaping, and a complete infrastructure overhaul including burial of all overhead utilities, a stormwater management system, a new drinking water main and new sanitary sewer main.
“By combining all of these critical infrastructure improvements into one single project,” Vance said, “we are compressing into 14 months construction that would otherwise span several years, cause much more prolonged disruption and vastly increase the costs to taxpayers.”
Complete information on the ReThink9 project is available at www.ReThink9.com, where visitors can register to receive the ReThink9 Dispatch for email alerts and regular updates.