Texas Hill Country News

Texas Road Name Change Leads to Anger and Confusion

By  | 
Tony Maples Photography


Drivers rely on GPS and mobile mapping services more than ever before, but what happens when new roads are added or old roads change names? Being in the know is the only way to avoid major miscalculations and rerouting. For those in the South Austin area, this is not completely news but for the rest of Texans, be aware: one road has had a modification to its name to reflect the proper spelling of a veteran of the Texas Revolution. If traveling here, being observant will result in noting the difference between what is now “Menchaca Road” and businesses with the name “Manchaca.”

The Manchaca Business Association filed a lawsuit to keep the city from changing the name, due to not enough advance notice of the change, but State District Judge Dustin Howell dismissed it. In addition to the costs associated with name changes for small businesses, those opposed also feel like this issue is minor in the face of “homelessness, infrastructure and affordability.” The city forged ahead, regardless, and according to the City of Austin Transportation Department, 143 signs will be replaced, costing around $23,000 in manufacturing and installing fees. Larger signs along the highways will not be replaced until regular service dates come up.

Texas Road Name Change Leads to Anger and Confusion

Photo: @caardinal via Twenty20

The change was suggested by Austin City Council Member Sabino “Pio” Renteria following the research of retired District Court Judge Bob Perkins, which indicated the road was named after José Antonio Menchaca, a Texas revolutionary at the Battle of San Jacinto. The misspelling first occurred in wartime archives and was believed to be continued from there. Those adverse to the change, however, say the road could have actually been named after a Choctaw word (imashaka, meaning “behind it” or “to the rear”), two different Louisiana bayous, or a family who lived in the area with the surname Manchaca. What do you think about the change?