US 1 name change to Richmond Highway
Several signs at intersections along US 1 naming Jefferson Davis Highway will be changed in the coming months to rename Richmond Highway in Prince William County.
Members of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, other dignitaries and county residents recently gathered in the parking lot of the River Oaks Mall for a renaming ceremony.
Prince William County Woodbridge District Supervisor Margaret Angela Franklin said the name was offensive to many and the change was overdue. “The names make the difference. From the Jefferson Davis Highway to the Richmond Highway, we finally made it to the 21st century and we eliminate the stain of the past Removing the name of Jefferson Davis as the main thoroughfare in this community was a personal goal of mine and I greatly appreciate the support and collective action of the board of supervisors. It has been through the collective hard work of this board, county leadership and the community that we are here to celebrate this milestone.”
The board voted unanimously, in September 2020, to change the highway’s name. In November, the Commonwealth Board of Transport authorized the name change and began work to raise awareness of the name change with a community outreach that included town hall-style meetings, mailings and a dedicated website. The board also appropriated $3 million to help businesses along the corridor with the costs of personnel modifications, consulting services, marketing, signage, and updating legal documents.
“For those residents and business owners who are affected by this change, please know that we are committed to minimizing the impact as much as possible,” said Prince William County Neabsco District Supervisor Victor Angry. “We encourage you to apply for grant funds and keep the community conversations going as we continue with this transition.”
Virginia delegate Luke Torian thanked and congratulated the board on the name change. “I believe that the actions that the county board has taken are consistent with the actions that we have taken in the Virginia General Assembly, in that we have removed monuments and statues that have been a blight on our state and our communities. Now I really have no problem driving on the Richmond Highway, no problem at all.”
Prince William County Occoquan District Supervisor Kenny A. Bodye said the event was important. “This is a great moment in the history of our county. We will no longer be commemorating people who literally fought for the right to own other people as property. Today, we become our own county and realize that as we move forward, we must acknowledge what has happened in the past and go above and beyond to make sure we are doing the right thing for everyone in our community. .”
Per Virginia Department of Transportation policy, the responsibility for changing the signs rests with the county since the board initiated the name change. All Jefferson Davis Highway signs are scheduled to be removed and replaced with Richmond Highway signs in late summer or early fall.