“Ahh, good old Route 286...What the??” The Fairfax County Parkway, for many years called Route 7100, has been renumbered to Route 286 as part of a reclassification of three major local roads from secondary to primary roads. Cranky old men don’t like it. (Virginia Department of Transportation)

Now, they’re changing. The Fairfax County Parkway is becoming Route 286. The Prince William Parkway is becoming Route 294. The Franconia-Springfield Parkway, formerly Route 7900, is becoming Route 289. None of these should be confused with the Dulles Toll Road, which is Route 267.

The cranky old man in me asks why? Why why why?

The answer is better road maintenance, and the main man to thank is Fairfax Supervisor Pat Herrity (R). He said he got questions from his constituents about why the Fairfax and Franconia parkways seemed to be crumbling, and he learned that they were classified as secondary roads. Not sure how the Fairfax County Parkway, with 75,000 cars per day, made that lower grade, but anyway.

Secondary roads get less money and attention from both state and federal sources. Herrity got the county board to formally request that the state Department of Transportation reclassify the roads as primary, and with help from Delegate David Albo (R-Fairfax), the Commonwealth Transportation Board did that in February. The roads are now set to be repaved and replenished, though with the slight psychological trauma of receiving new numbers.

Why new numbers? VDOT says that secondary roads get the wacky numbers, but primary roads must be numbered between 1 and 599. And cool numbers like 1 and 7 and 9 and 15 were already taken around here. The names will not change, and VDOT spokeswoman Joan Morris told the Fairfax Connection that the cost of the sign changes will be about $200,000. The toll in confusion and mass upset among cranky old men? Priceless.

And now as a public service from The State of NoVa, here is your handly clip-and-save guide to the new route numbers:

Fairfax County Parkway: now Route 286. (Was 7100)

Franconia-Springfield Parkway: now Route 289 (Was 7900)

Prince William Parkway: now Route 294 (Was 3000)

Dulles Toll Road: still Route 267