Virginia’s Arlington Co. to rename Jefferson Davis Highway, road designated for Confederate leader

June 2, 2019 GMT

Arlington County moved Thursday to ask Virginia transportation officials to rename Jefferson Davis Highway to Richmond Highway.

The Arlington County Board unanimously voted in favor of a resolution urging the Commonwealth Transportation Board to change the name of the 2.56-mile section of Route 1.

Designated by the Virginia General Assembly in 1922 as Jefferson Davis Highway in honor of the former president of the Confederacy, Arlington’s vote to rename the road follows recent decisions out of the state capital, neighboring Alexandria and the office of the commonwealth’s attorney general, Mark Herring.


Virginia law for decades prohibited the CTB from renaming highways designated by the General Assembly, but that statute was changed in 2012. Alexandria’s City Council voted in June to rename its section of the road to Richmond Highway, and Mr. Herring, a Democrat, was subsequently asked whether Arlington County could follow suit by appealing to the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

“It is my opinion that the Commonwealth Transportation Board may change the name of those portions of Jefferson Davis Highway located in Arlington County, provided that its board of supervisors adopts a resolution requesting the renaming,” Mr. Herring said last month in response to a letter sent by Del. Mark Levine, Alexandria Democrat.

County board members easily followed through Thursday evening and passed a resolution to rename the road in a 5-0 vote.

“Arlington has long sought to rename the stretch of Jefferson Davis Highway that runs through our County,” said Christian Dorsey, the chair of the Arlington County Board. “Renaming our portion of the highway will make it easier for drivers heading from Fairfax County through the City of Alexandria and then Arlington should be traveling on a highway that bears one name.”

Arlington expects to spend about $17,000 on new streets signs, according to the county.