If you drove around eastern Jefferson County on Monday afternoon you could see many new road signs, covered in black cloth. Sometime after midnight, in the early morning of September 12, the shrouds will come off the signs, some temporary traffic signals will be turned on, and barriers will be dropped across Route 340, blocking the road between Chestnut Hill Road and Harpers Ferry Road (VA Route 671). The closure, for a project to stablilze the rock cliff above the road is schedule to run through December 11 2023 (see related story).
Commuters can expect heavy traffic along the official detour route (above) and on alternate routes around the county as commuters, school buses, tourists, and residents on everyday errands navigate their way around the closure (see related story).
The West Virginia Department of Highways (WVDOH) provided updates on the project during a public forum held on September 9 at the Blue Ridge Elementary School. Some key details:
- Route 340 will be closed starting on September 12 (before the morning commute).
- The road will be closed to all traffic, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until December 11.
- WVDOH’s contractor is obligated to finish the work that requires the road to be closed within 90 days.
- The traffic signal on Route 9 at the intersection of Chestnut Hill Road and Old Charles Town Road will continue to be a flashing light. Southbound traffic from Chestnut Hill Road will be directed to turn right onto Route 9. Northbound traffic from Old Charles Town Road will be directed to turn left. Cross traffic and left turns onto Route 9 will be blocked (see maps below for the recommened detours).
- The traffic signal and stop markings at Route 9 and Harpers Ferry Road in Virginia will be adjusted (see map below).
Jefferson County Sheriff Tom Hansen also spoke at the September 9 forum, saying “we’ll do the best we can to make this as safe as possible.” He stated that he planned to deploy deputies at multiple locations, and will monitor the situation closely to see what the needs will be.
Information Resources Online
The official website for the project is US340HarpersFerry.com. WVDOH recommends drivers visit WV511.org for updates on current traffic conditions. Some local residents have launched a Facebook group for commuters to share information and updates (and provide general support to each other during the 3 months of stressful driving). The Observer will continue to publish updates during the project as well.By Steve Pearson