The Prince William Board of County Supervisors voted unanimously early Wednesday morning to begin the process of renaming U.S. 1 in Prince William County from Jefferson Davis Highway to “Richmond Highway.”
The board voted 7-0 at around 2 a.m. to rename the road. Supervisor Pete Candland, R-Gainesville, was absent from the vote.
The decision came after a marathon meeting that began at 2 p.m. and included debate and decisions about the Va. 28 bypass and a controversial proposal to build a new asphalt plant near a Manassas elementary school.
In Prince William County, Jefferson Davis Highway runs through three magisterial districts and the town of Dumfries. The 12-mile stretch of roadway through the county includes approximately 1,000 addresses.
County staff said the name change is projected to cost between $1.2 million and $5 million. The expense is due to the need to replace existing signage, update building fire panels and other efforts to mitigate impacts to businesses on the U.S. 1 corridor. If everything goes to plan, the project will likely wrap up in the summer of 2022, county staff said.
The name-change will be part of the fiscal year 2022 budget, according to County Executive Chris Martino.
Supervisor Margaret Franklin, D-Woodbridge, brought the motion forward. Franklin said she pursued the name change because Jefferson Davis was the president of the Confederacy and because Jefferson Davis Highway “is a major highway in minority communities.”
The supervisors’ request will now head to the Commonwealth Transportation Board in November. If approved, Prince William County will join the City of Alexandria and Arlington County in renaming the highway.
Arlington and Alexandria renamed Jefferson Davis Highway in their jurisdictions in 2019. Fairfax County has historically called U.S. 1 “Richmond Highway” and did not have to undergo a renaming process.
The supervisors last considered renaming Jefferson Davis Highway in 2017. During that attempt, brought forward by Franklin’s predecessor, former Woodbridge supervisor Frank Principi, the motion failed to get a second on the then-Republican majority board.