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North Canadian River name change could cost $40,000


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Renaming the North Canadian River's 747-mile stretch through Oklahoma could cost the state $40,000, state officials estimate.

A lawmaker proposing to change the name to the Oklahoma River says it would be worth it, even at that cost. But State Rep. Leonard Sullivan, R-Oklahoma City, said he believes the $40,000 estimate is too high.

About half the cost would come from replacing 55 to 60 state signs marking the river, said Terri Angier, a Transportation Department spokeswoman.

Cities and counties also would have to replace signs, she said.

It could cost the state $20,000, mostly for labor, to update maps and records that include the river, Angier said. The department publishes a state map every year and keeps maps for all counties, as well as records of all the bridges in the state.

Angier estimated the work would take about two months.

Sullivan says the river's name should promote Oklahoma, not Canada.

Under his plan, the Canadian River, which runs south of the North Canadian River, would stay the same.

Angier said changing the names of both rivers could cost twice as much.

Sullivan is expecting the North Canadian River's status to improve because of a $54.3 million project in Oklahoma City, which is nearly complete. The improved section of the river will be used for transportation between the Interstate 40-Meridian Avenue area and downtown.

In addition, the river may host rowing competitions, which could be televised nationally.

``We should reap the benefits from it,'' Sullivan said.

Sullivan estimated 200,000 cars travel the I-40-I-35 bridge over the river in Oklahoma City every day.

The name change has been sought for years by Ray Ackerman, a retired advertising executive who is a past chairman of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.
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