Last weekend marked the partial reopening of traffic on Rt. 9 through Hillsboro following a months-long closure while crews work on utility and traffic calming projects. It didn’t go well.
Town leaders developed a schedule to allow alternating one-way traffic through the construction zone, but according to Mayor Roger Vance and Vice Mayor Amy Marasco, drivers moved barriers, traveled the wrong directions and often sped through town.
Things will be different this weekend.
Vance and Marasco worked with law enforcement and county and VDOT officials to come up with a new plan.
The new traffic pattern will open Rt. 9 to westbound traffic on Fridays from 2-7 p.m. or dusk and Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or dusk each day. The road will be closed to traffic at night.
The weekday schedule will remain the same and see Rt. 9 through the town open to eastbound traffic from 4-9:30 a.m. Monday to Friday.
Vance, the project manager for the town’s $14.3 million Traffic Calming and Pedestrian Safety Project, said town leaders would keep that traffic pattern in place “until the town sees a need to make other changes.”
Marasco, the deputy project manager, said motorists’ behavior last weekend was “more than unacceptable. It was completely unsafe and deliberate.”
“It was unbelievable,” she said. “It was aggressive and it was deliberate.”
Vance said he noticed three or four drivers speeding through town in the wrong direction during a half-hour span.
“These weren’t accidental moves,” he said.
In addition to prohibiting traffic through the town at night from now on, Vance and Marasco said the Virginia State Police would increase their presence at each end of the town to enforce the new traffic patterns.
On a lighter note, Vance and Marasco said they were pleased with how well the morning rush of traffic went and how much progress Archer Western Corp. crews are making on the road project, which is burying utility lines and installing roundabouts, sidewalks and retaining walls to slow traffic and make pedestrian travel safer.
The Hill Tom Market is also back open to passersby and the Stoneybrook Farm Market remains open, albeit with an entrance off Hillsboro Road instead of Rt. 9.
Before last weekend, the highway through town was closed entirely from May 4 to Aug. 13 for crews to complete work on the town’s $3.2 million water project and to make more progress than originally anticipated on the traffic calming and pedestrian safety project.
Town leaders plan no more full road closures through town again this year. There will be at least one more in 2021, before the project wraps up by early April.
For road project updates, go to ReThink9.com.