New names for Lee and Lee-Jackson highways will sound familiar

Fairfax County, Virginia, is moving closer to renaming Lee and Lee-Jackson highways, and their likely monikers will sound familiar to local drivers.

On Tuesday, the county’s Board of Supervisors directed county staff to draw up a resolution endorsing the changing of the roads’ names to their route numbers: routes 29 and 50, respectively.

The board will vote on the changes at their next meeting, set for Sept. 13.

It all follows a yearlong review process in which the public was surveyed. In December, the county’s Confederate Names Task Force recommended renaming both, and it suggested the route numbers as an alternative.

Other potential names for Lee Highway included Cardinal Highway, Langston Boulevard/Highway, Lincoln-Douglass Highway or Fairfax Boulevard/Highway. Other alternatives for Lee-Jackson included Unity Highway, Fairfax Boulevard and Blue and Gray Highway.

And after conducting outreach to businesses and homes along the roadways, county staff gave a presentation to the board June 14 detailing what a name change would involve.

The presentation “provided information on the cost of signage, actions undertaken by neighboring jurisdictions and various ways jurisdictions are providing aid to businesses directly impacted by a name change,” Supervisor Walter Alcorn wrote in a board motion.

Last October, Tom Biesiadny, the director of the county’s Transportation Department, told the task force that removing the names of the roads’ two Confederate namesakes would cost between $1 million and $4 million, and FFX Now reports that because the new names would be short, that price will probably be on the low end of that range.

Alcorn’s resolution Tuesday also directs staff to include information “on ways to financially assist those directly impacted by changing the name of either road and that criteria to meet such assistance be developed in an equitable manner.”

If the Board of Supervisors passes the resolution, it would still be subject to approval by the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

Jack Pointer

Jack contributes to when he's not working as the afternoon/evening radio writer. In a previous life, he helped edit The Dallas Morning News and Chicago Tribune.

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