On Thursday, September 26, VDOT leadership received the primary components of a traffic plan from a joint technical engineering team from the Town of Hillsboro and VDOT’s Northern Virginia and Staunton Districts for the Town of Hillsboro’s Route 9 Traffic Calming and Pedestrian Safety project. The suggested plan permits temporary road closures during the estimated 14-month construction project. According to Hillsboro Mayor Roger Vance, “Though a final decision rests with VDOT, after several weeks of a comprehensive, data-driven analysis, the technical teams at VDOT and the Town yesterday reached a consensus on the major components of a modified Maintenance of Traffic plan (MOT) that addresses the primary concerns for regional commuters, Clarke County officials, western Loudoun businesses and area residents.”
Mayor Vance said that after the all-day work session VDOT leadership told the team that final approval of the technical team’s plan is expected by the end of September. “Although a final decision remains to be made,” said Vance, “the joint technical team was assured that their data-driven consensus would determine that decision.”
Mayor Vance said, “The technical team’s plan addresses many
of the concerns and uncertainties raised by our local area
businesses as well as our regional stakeholders. It balances
the many diverse needs with the need for the most time-effective
project delivery. Once a contractor is selected, a project
schedule will be created and shared with the public.”
The new plan accommodates the concentrated morning rush hour commute by allowing one lane eastbound-only opened from 4 a.m. through the morning peak. More than 17,000 daily trips come through Hillsboro with the morning rush the heaviest time. The new plan provides these commuters with one-lane access eastbound on Route 9, as well as clearly defined regional and local detours.
The plan, Vance said, accommodates weekend westbound traffic with one lane open starting Fridays at 3 p.m. to facilitate access by customers and tourists to the businesses in the Town as well as the many area businesses west of the Town.
Along with the daily closure period after morning peak rush hour, Vance said, the technical team acknowledged the need for 60 calendar days under a full closure to build some of the most critical components. Vance noted that the daily closure significantly reduces the duration of the full road closure that had been previously proposed—and that this was the brainchild of VDOT NOVA’s lead traffic engineer Kamal Suliman.
Among the key components of the combined technical team plans are:
One-lane closure within the Town for duration of the project
Weekday eastbound lane operations within the Town during the peak morning rush to accommodate the heaviest regional commuter traffic and alleviate Clarke County concerns, followed by daily full-road closure within the Town limits to allow multiple work crews across the entire work zone and extended work days
Signed local and regional detours to direct motorists and trucks to alternate routes
Beginning Fridays at 3 p.m. through Sunday evenings until 5 p.m., opening to one-lane westbound through the Town to accommodate customers to businesses in Town and west of Hillsboro
Up to 60 calendar days of full road closures to accommodate critical-path construction, including sections of full-depth road reconstruction, utility duct banks and underground road crossings requiring closure
Improvements, to be finalized by VDOT, including modified signalization and signage to Rt. 7 intersections in Clarke and Loudoun counties to mitigate impacts of increased peak-hour traffic during full closure periods—along with targeted law enforcement efforts
Interim financial incentives to the contractor by the Town for timely completion of critical-path components and early project completion
Vance also announced that VDOT has agreed to accelerate regular maintenance and repaving of local rural roads in the Hillsboro area. “We are very pleased that VDOT will begin much-needed repairs to Route 719, which will be the local detour, and Route 751, which will be signed for local traffic only, but will likely see more cut-through traffic during construction.”
The Town, which is managing the major road and critical infrastructure project that is funded by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and Loudoun County, will launch a major public outreach effort upon VDOT’s final approval of the plan, said Vance. He said the website, ReThink9.com has the latest news and information about the project. Visitors can sign up to receive the ReThink9 Dispatch to receive email alerts and updates.