Name change for Jefferson Davis Highway causes confusion, is inconsistent on map apps

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The name of Jefferson Davis Highway will soon be no more, but the replacement of signage along State Route 1 has caused confusion and inconsistencies during the transition to the highway bearing a new name.

The City of Richmond has already changed the name of the portion of Route 1 running through the city to Richmond Highway.

However, in other places, what was once Jefferson Davis Highway will have a different name. In Chesterfield County, Hanover County and other locations, the road is set to become Emancipation Highway. Governor Northam signed this into law last March.

VDOT is poised to rename the highway across the state in January.

For now, the inconsistencies are leaving people perplexed.

In Richmond, where street signs have been changed, many things still show the name of the former Confederate president. The name is not yet changed on GRTC bus routes, meaning signs in-transit and at stops display Jefferson Davis Highway instead.

For people trying to navigate using their phones, maps features may still use the old name as well. Apple Maps and Mapquest users will encounter the old name while it appears that Microsoft and Google platforms have made the switch.

“Probably going to cause a lot of, you know, a lot of miscommunication,” said longtime Chesterfield resident Jeff Ball.

Ball has lived in the county for thirty five years and believes the head scratching will only continue this January.

“Even after that I just feel like the locals, and that, it’s still going to be called Jeff Davis Highway,” Ball said.

Denise Jones in Richmond welcomes the name change, but also says younger people will likely adjust faster than others

“They will learn quicker, the younger people,” Jones said. “But, everybody else is used to Jeff Davis, they’re going to be like, ‘what?’”

It’s unknown how long it will take to replace the signs next year and how much it will cost. It is even more unclear how long it will take for an entire community to relearn the new lingo along State Route 1.

Because Richmond Highway has already been renamed, it is unlikely the city will have to change their signs to Emancipation Highway.

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