Gov. Bill Richardson said last week he wants to renovate one of the most dangerous roads in the state, which is known by locals as the "Devil's Highway," "Satan's Highway" and "Highway to Hell."
Richardson wants to change the number of the route officially known as Highway 666 because of the association of the triple sixes with Satan.
Highway 666 runs north-south for about 160 miles in the northwestern part of the state, mostly through an American Indian reservation, connecting the towns of Gallup and Shiprock.
"I am proud to announce my wholehearted support for the renovation of Highway 666 -- a name we are working to change," Richardson told the New Mexico legislature on Tuesday.
Rhonda Faught, the secretary of transportation for the state said this week her office will apply to federal authorities for a name change for the road.
The highway that rolls through mountain valleys has some of the highest fatalities per mile of any road in New Mexico because of its poor condition.
It is mostly a bumpy, two-lane road, which has been expanded to four lanes in some parts. It attracts slow-moving tourists as well as motorists traveling at high speed through a sparsely populated region. In 2000 and 2001, a total of 21 people were killed and 144 others injured in accidents on the road, according to state figures.
The number 666 is called the number of the beast in the New Testament's Book of Revelations, and over the centuries the triple sixes have become associated with Satan.
The highway received the 666 designation in 1942. U.S highway authorities gave it that number because it was the sixth major highway to branch off of the famed road to the West called Route 66.
"It has a negative connotation. We don't want it to be associated with our state," Faught said.
Damn, some people really need to get their priorities straight. The name of the damn road doesn't mean nearly as much as the condition of it. Spend the money on improving the actual road, not the fucking name...