Another Musical Stretch of Interstate in Grand Rapids
As more and more road construction projects wrap up, we get to drive on brand new roadways!
A few years back, when the stretch of eastbound I-96 near the East Beltline re-opened after construction, the new road way had a unique sound to it when you drove on it. The sounds were caused by variations in the new road surface. In time, those areas were worn down and the sounds faded away. (Here is a story by Fox 17 on that stretch of singing road.)
The latest “musical” stretch of road is also on an eastbound interstate This time it is on the newly resurfaced I-196 between Fuller Avenue and the former musical freeway — I-96.
This most recent stretch of repaved interstate has been under construction all summer long as Michigan Department of Transportation worked to update that entire stretch. It re-opened this week with it's new musical feature!
Back in 2019, John Richard, this area's spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Transportation, theorized that it was the combination of the “gradation of the mix” of the asphalt combined with tire treads that created these unique sounds.
Although these musical stretches of road are purely coincidental, there are some places that have intentionally come up with musical roads. By cutting groves into the road's pavement, various medleys have been produced by car tires driving over these cuts into the roadway.
Here is one roadway in Lancaster, California that plays the William Tell Overture (The theme to the "Lone Ranger")...
And then there is this stretch of the old Route 66 in New Mexico that plays "America The Beautiful" when you drive over it.
Most of these musical roads are set up in unpopulated areas. No one wants to live next to a road that plays the same song with every vehicle that passes over it!