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Fairfax County board votes to rename Lee-Jackson, Lee highways

A road sign for Lee Highway, also known as Route 29, in Merrifield (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Lee and Lee-Jackson highways may officially no more.

In a 9-1 decision, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to change names of Lee and Lee-Jackson highways to Route 29 and Route 50 respectively.

“This is a necessary and important change for Fairfax County. We will continue to strive to realize our vision of a more equitable One Fairfax,” wrote Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay in a statement.

The move comes after a yearlong review by the county’s Confederate Names Task Force, which called on renaming the highways. The task force submitted recommendations in December.

Overall, updates to signage is expected to cost roughly $1.4 million, according to a county memo. An additional $1.5 million is estimated for a financial assistance program that would affect businesses and residential units that may be impacted by the name change.

That financial assistance program will be developed in the fall through a formal proposal.

Supervisor Pat Herrity — the board’s lone Republican — voted against the proposal. Officially changing the names will require the approval of the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

The vote comes at the heels of a June decision to change the Lee District’s magisterial name to the Franconia District.

Evoking Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, the highways were among 150 sites in the county with names whose Confederate origins were confirmed by a 2020 report from the Fairfax County History Commission. Combined, they represent over 20 miles of roadway from Chantilly on the county’s western end to the Falls Church border in the east.

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