(Updated August 2012)
Preserve right-of-way to allow for future relocation of Route 9 west of Hillsboro on new limited access corridor running south and connecting to Route 7 at Purcellville.
Traffic modeling done by Consultants hired by Loudoun County as part of its 2010 Countywide Transportation Plan update showed that re-locating Route 9 provided dramatic improvements in congestion, travel speeds and safety.
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors response was to vote to delete and strike any reference to this option in the Countywide Plan.
The Countywide Transportation Plan adopted by the Board on June 15, 2010 clasifies the road as "two-lane rural" despite acknowledging that it will "experience sifnificant congestion by 2030."
In 2005, the average daily 24-hour traffic volume (ADT) for Route 9 from Harpers Ferry Road to Hillsboro was 16,000. By 2011, it’s forecasted to be 21,000. That much traffic will ruin Hillsboro, turning the only street in town into a clogged commuting nightmare and making it increasingly difficult for residents living along Route 9 to safely exit their driveways.
West Virginia is widening its portion of Route 9 to four lanes from Charlestown to the Virginia/Loudoun County line with a new four-lane bridge across the Potomac River. The new road and bridge are scheduled to open in late 2012. Congestion, as a result, is expected to worsen on Loudoun’s two-lane segment. Traffic engineers warn that Loudoun’s Rt. 9 reaches failing congestion levels at 18,000 to 19,000 trips per day, a threshold that is quickly being met.
Route 9 is a critical link to Washington Dulles International Airport. Absent this alternative, this link will fail and Dulles will become increasingly less accessible.
Hillsboro residents also should not be forced to endure thousands of commuters and commuters should not be forced to endure hours of traffic each day as a result of poor planning. Widening the existing road would destroy the historic town and a bypass would only move the traffic around Hillsboro without alleviating any congestion on either side of the town.
The importance of preserving the right-of-way for this realignment is obvious. The longer the Commonwealth and County wait the more costly it will become to acquire the right-of-way when the conditions to move the project forward are realized. Protecting a line on the map is the essential first step.
The most obvious and logical solution is to relocate the road west of Hillsboro with a limited access connection to Purcellville at Route 7. This will result in safer travel conditions and greater capacity, as well as preserving the integrity of a historic Virginia town.
To view a map of this project and other proposed Alliance “Missing Transportation Links” priorities, click here.