Va. 9 closure would divert Loudoun, Md., W. Va. commuters

The possibility of an 11-month closure of one of the Loudoun County’s most picturesque and infuriating two-lane commuter routes through Virginia’s historic Hillsboro would mean drivers from Maryland and West Virginia would have to find another way to work.

Hillsboro’s mayor says that inconvenience is better than the alternative.

The town of Hillsboro — population 86 in the 2010 Census — has Virginia Route 9 running through it, and has been planning a pedestrian safety and traffic calming project.

This summer, the town decided it needed a new plan, after three bids from construction firms came in between $5 million and $10 million above project engineers’ cost estimates.

The original plan would have included the construction of two roundabouts, new sidewalks and buried power lines.

Now, Mayor Roger Vance supports an option that would save money and reduce construction time, but would require completely closing Route 9 to traffic for approximately 11 months.

The alternative would take three years, but keep one lane open, and use flaggers, to enable commuters to stick to Route 9.

Neighboring Clarke County, Virginia officials have been concerned that closure of Route 9 would mean 10,000 extra vehicles daily would be diverted onto Va. 7 and U.S. 340.

In a statement, Hillsboro officials said Va. Route 7 “is a four-lane highway with capacity to accept a significant increase in motorist and truck travel.”

Vance said the town is working with Virginia Department of Transportation and Loudoun County to minimize the effects of detours on commuters and homeowners.

“We live in a tri-state area,” said Vance. “All our roads are part of a larger network, each of our communities can help relieve congestion burden when we work together.”

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