After several meetings with the construction team and engineers over the past few weeks, Hillsboro Mayor Roger Vance said on Monday the town is ready to announce a preliminary “macro” construction schedule for the Route 9 Traffic Calming and Pedestrian Safety Project.
Over the next two months, Phase One's preparatory and mobilization work will begin with Archer Western Construction's crews bringing in equipment and clearing areas in the construction zone.
The official start date for construction is March 4. This second phase – which includes construction of roundabouts at each end of town and other structures -- will run through late summer or early fall and will allow for two-way traffic throughout the process, with no road closures and flagging “as needed," according to the mayor.
“We have taken into account input from our schools, businesses and commuting public as well as our local and regional residents,” Vance said.
Once the roundabouts are constructed, Phase Three will begin with partial road closures. This process will continue through spring 2021, which is the target completion date.
Phase Three will allow for a single-lane closure on weekdays and weekends. During the week, commuter traffic will be able to travel on the eastbound lane from 4 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The westbound lane will be closed except from 2 p.m. Friday to 4 p.m. Sunday. The eastbound lane will re-open at 5 p.m. Sunday to 9:30 a.m. Monday.
Regional detours will direct vehicles either via Route 7, Route 340, or other local detour routes. The regional detour will direct all traffic originating west of Route 340 to follow Route 340 to Route 7. Local traffic will detour around Hillsboro on Route 719 to Woodgrove Road, to Allder School Road, then north on Hillsboro Road to reconnect with Route 9.
Throughout this phase, full road closures will be “limited,” Vance said, and will be scheduled as construction dictates. The timing will be affected by the progress of the construction.
He said there are 60 days available for full closure during the project, noting it will not be 60 days at once. There will be a minimum of five days and a maximum of 30 days at one time.
“There will be well-defined periods for closure, and we will receive a minimum two weeks advanced notice. Hopefully we will have more notice depending on how construction is affected by weather, et cetera,” Vance said.
Vance said they are looking at three periods of full closure, with two toward the end of the year and one at the end of the project.
He said they are working with officials at the Hillsboro Charter Academy and Loudoun County Public Schools to ensure “full access” to the school during construction.
Vance on Monday held a “risk assessment” meeting with about 25 officials from Virginia Department of Transportation, Loudoun County Fire and Rescue, Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, Visit Loudoun, Rural Economic Development Council and Supervisor Tony Buffington's (R-Blue Ridge) office. He said they spent time discussing potential issues that could arise during the construction process and strategies to mitigate those risks.
Town officials say the project's goal is to improve traffic safety, allow for safe pedestrian access and safe parking and reduce current traffic congestion. It will also allow for safer drinking water.
Vance has said the goal of the project is to complete all of the infrastructure projects at the same time to reduce the longevity of the project and save tax dollars.