What a creative addition to a road, right? This public highway in New Mexico used to sing “America the Beautiful” when you drove over it in your car, truck, or SUV at a specific speed. Thanks to The National Geographic Channel, the regular road became a must-see highway.
The National Geographic Channel funded this musical road that sings “America the Beautiful”
The website Only In Your State helps people discover what is “in your own backyard.” In New Mexico, one of those items happens to be a musical public highway near Tijeras. The stretch of Route 66 plays a musical tune when a car, truck, SUV, or other vehicle drives over it. Drivers have reported hearing “America the Beautiful” during the musical drive.
A sign on the road reads “Reduce to 45 mph,” with some musical notes to remind drivers to slow down. This is part of a program through the National Geographic Channel called “Crowd Control.” The program was meant to test ways to improve society’s behavior. Since you have to slow down to hear the song, the National Geographic Channel gets drivers to slow down with positive reinforcement. That’s one way to force people to drive slowly!
The “America the Beautiful” road brought a lot of people to the area
San Bar Construction in New Mexico is responsible for the musical road. The music plays when a car drives over rumble strips and metal bars underneath the road. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the National Geographic Channel received permission from the New Mexico Department of Transportation to build the road back in 2014. It was 1,300 feet of “singing roadway” that became quite the sensation.
Apparently, because of the sponsorship, the experiment didn’t cost the taxpayers anything. It brought people in from as far away as Australia.
“The song is played as a car’s tires hit grooved metal plates underneath the asphalt. Each plate produces a musical note that come together to play the song.”Elise Kaplan | Mountain View Telegraph
Someone from the New Mexico Department of Transportation said that it was a “really cool idea. It promotes public safety because the goal is to have people drive the speed limit.” Route 66 is already a popular destination as far as roads go, making the Tijeras Canyon stand out. Elise Kaplan explained that when a car tire drove over the grooved metal plates under the asphalt, the plates produced a sound. Each one made a different musical note to create the song.
The curtain has closed on this musical attraction
Unfortunately, the local government didn’t keep the road in tip-top shape. But now, it seems the road has fallen into further disrepair. One area of it had to be paved over, which left it unable to carry a tune. One section of speed bumps still works, but it is just a short burst of music now.
The NMDOT removed the signs directing people to the area, too. People have reported you can hear it if you know where to drive, but that appears to be all for now. Kimberly Gallegos from the Department of Transportation confirmed there are no plans to restore the musical road. “The cost is outrageous, and they have since restored portions of the roadway and removed all of the signs.” For now, the curtain has closed on this patriotic New Mexico road.