BERRYVILLE — A Loudoun County road construction project is nearing completion without causing much of a problem on Clarke County roadways, which had been a concern.
Roundabouts and other traffic-calming measures have been installed along Charles Town Pike (Va. 9) in Hillsboro, a town of approximately 200 residents in northwest Loudoun. Traffic engineers originally estimated that when both lanes had to be closed during construction, up to 10,000 vehicles daily would detour onto Harry Byrd Highway (Va. 7) and Lord Fairfax Highway (U.S. 340) in Clarke.
Clarke County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Travis Sumption said he hasn’t “really seen much of a difference” in traffic on Harry Byrd Highway, which is the more heavily traveled of the two roads, since the Hillsboro project began in March 2020.
He speculated that the COVID-19 pandemic may have kept traffic levels down, with more people working and going to school at home.
Before the Hillsboro project started, the Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) announced various measures that would be put into place to minimize the effects of any traffic increase on the Clarke highways. They included increasing law-enforcement patrols, changing traffic signal patterns, installing portable traffic-monitoring cameras, widening a narrow off-ramp at the Harry Byrd Highway/Lord Fairfax Highway interchange north of Berryville and restricting turns onto Shepherds Mill Road (Va. 612) during rush hours. Shepherds Mill is a narrow road connecting Harry Byrd Highway, in the Arcadia Farm area east of Berryville, to Lord Fairfax Highway, just south of the West Virginia line near Gaylord.
Sumption said the Sheriff’s Office has used VDOT funds to pay deputies overtime for increased patrols. Without immediate access to data, he didn’t know how much patrols have increased.
The Hillsboro project is scheduled for completion in May.
“We have made outstanding progress,” Hillsboro Mayor Roger Vance stated in a news release. As a result, a planned 30-day full closure of the road this spring won’t be needed, he said.
Limited two-way traffic along Charles Town Pike began on March 30 on weekdays. The road is fully reopened on Saturdays and Sundays.
“As we enter the tourism season,” Vance said, “we are extremely pleased that visitors to the Hillsboro area’s wineries, breweries, restaurants and attractions will have 24-hour, two-way access through town on weekends.”