Answer Desk: Why did the signs change on 3 NoVa roads?

Max Smith,

WASHINGTON – There are new signs going up on three major roads in Northern Virginia that mean more than just new road numbers.

Now designated as primary roads rather than secondary, the Fairfax County Parkway, Prince William Parkway and Franconia-Springfield Parkway will now be eligible for more federal funding, and move up in line when it comes time for snow plows to hit the roads.

All the roads will keep their names, but the numbers change. New signs show the Fairfax County Parkway as Route 286 rather than 7100, the Prince William Parkway as Route 294 rather than 3000, and the Franconia-Springfield Parkway as Route 289 rather than 7900. The changes were announced this winter, but the signs are rolling out now, including some noting the roads’ old designations to ease confusion.

“Ultimately, making these roads primary routes means we’re talking about more money and a higher priority for maintenance,” says Virginia Department of Transportation spokewoman Jennifer McCord says.

“There will be more federal money now for paving, for filling potholes. They’ll also have a higher priority as far as snow removal,” she adds.

Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity says new paving and the new signs are what drivers will notice most along the Fairfax County Parkway.

“This all came as a result of a constituent question who had asked me why 123 was being paved repeatedly while the parkway was in such bad shape in terms of paving. And it was as simple as a request by the board of supervisors to VDOT,” Herrity says.

All primary roads in Virginia are numbered 1 to 599.

“To be able to receive the federal funding for maintaining these roads, they need to be designated as primary routes. And they have to meet a certain number of requirements for traffic volume, for carrying a certain percentage of out of state traffic, of trucks, of buses,” McCord says.

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