Fairfax County can officially retire Lee Highway and Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway as its names for routes 29 and 50.
The highways will be renamed after their route numbers effective July 5, the county announced today (Thursday).
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted on Sept. 13 to drop the highway names, which were homages to Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, but the Commonwealth Transportation Board didn’t approve the changes until May 24.
“The renaming of both roadways signifies our unwavering dedication to acknowledging the experiences of our community, especially our African American neighbors,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a statement. “Thanks to the dedicated work of all the community members who participated in the Confederate Names Task Force, we can put these divisive names behind us and continue to move our County in the right direction.”
According to the county, its records will automatically update on July 5 to reflect the new street names, including for property taxes, voter registrations and Fairfax Water.
However, individual property and business owners will be responsible for updating their address when it comes to their driver’s license, legal documents, utility bills, mail and other services.
The county says it’s developing a grant program to provide financial assistance for those affected by the name changes, though the program needs to be approved by the Board of Supervisors.
The Virginia Department of Transportation will replace the road signs, but the county has agreed to cover those costs, which were previously estimated to range from $1 million to $4 million, depending on the length of the new names.
The Board of Supervisors created the Confederate Names Task Force in 2021 after the Fairfax County History Commission identified hundreds of sites bearing names associated with the Confederacy, including Lee and Lee-Jackson Memorial highways.
According to the task force’s report, Lee Highway covers about 14 miles from Centreville to Falls Church, with a break in the middle where Route 29 meets Route 50 in Fairfax City. It was named after Robert E. Lee in 1919.
Lee-Jackson Memorial consists of about 8 miles of Route 50 in western Fairfax County. The name was adopted in 1922.
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