SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) -- Gov. Bill Richardson not only wants to fix U.S. 666, he wants to change its name.
The governor, in his State of the State address, said he supports improvements on the Gallup-to-Shiprock stretch of the highway, and added that U.S. 666 is "a name we are working to change" -- drawing applause from the crowd.
The number has satanic connotations -- 666 is the "number of the beast," or Antichrist, in the Bible -- and the road is sometimes referred to as the "devil's highway."
Rhonda Faught, highway and transportation secretary, said she would immediately start the process for renaming the road, which will require coordination with Utah and Colorado.
"It has a negative connotation. We don't want it to be associated with our state," Faught said. "It also discourages tourism and economic development in the area."
An application has to be submitted in conjunction with the other two states to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
The process of getting approval from the association could take six to 12 months, Faught said.