For the 17,000 daily commuters who typically funnel through the tiny town of Hillsboro, in western Loudoun County, the complete closure of Virginia Route 9 will require detours starting Monday.
The less than 1-mile stretch of two-lane state highway through the historic town is completely closed for the ReThink9 road and pedestrian project, affecting commuters from Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia.
“For the vast majority of daily commuters heading east, who originate from West Virginia, the safest and fastest route will be to use the four-lane (West Virginia) Route 340 to Virginia Route 7,” said Hillsboro Mayor Roger Vance.
As WTOP reported in mid-April, Hillsboro and Virginia Department of Transportation decided to take advantage of low traffic volume during stay-at-home orders associated with coronavirus to begin the most intrusive aspect of the project earlier than planned — total closure of Route 9 within the limits of the town, which has a population of under 100 people.
In addition to the regional detour of Routes 340 and 7, a local detour around the work zone will provide access to wineries, vineyards, breweries and restaurants close to Hillsboro.
“For the bulk of all commuters, the local Hillsboro detour will not be a good alternative, as speed limits on the two-lane detour routes have been reduced, and will be vigorously enforced,” said Vance.
More than 100 detour signs have been constructed and installed in Loudoun and Clarke counties in Virginia as well in Jefferson County, West Virginia. Maryland commuters who cross the Potomac River west of Brunswick, in Frederick County, and take Harper’s Ferry Road will likely prefer to stay on Route 340 to Route 7.
The complete closure of Route 9 through Hillsboro will last until mid-June, said Vance.
The scheduled 428-day project is expected to be completed in May 2021.
“While we’re hopeful we can complete the project ahead of schedule, we’re not going to make a projection at this time.”