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'Singing Road' Goes Quiet After Complaints

Friday, April 27, 2018

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Residents of a Dutch village are singing a different tune after the installation of rumble strips that play the regional anthem on a nearby highway: The strips were installed to keep drivers focused on the road, but instead, the noise is making life inharmonious for village residents.

Sietske Poepjes, vice governor of Friesland Province, told the New York Times that officials had chosen the village of Jelsum for the experiment for two reasons: one, because it was in Leeuwarden, the provincial capital that had also been named the 2018 European capital of culture; and two, because the road—the N357—was long, straight and had a new surface.

Musical Roadway

Poepjes went on to note that this was also a necessity for road maintenance, given that some drivers become distracted. The strips were put in place in hopes it would encourage drivers to stick to the speed limit, and since Leeuwarden had been named the cultural capital, the anthem element was introduced to the project.

On April 6, road crews painted roughly 490 feet of a recently paved 16-mile stretch of road with the rumble strips, which cost 80,000 euros ($99,000). The vibrations create the music when a driver hits the road at the correct speed—60 kph (40 mph).

“It’s basically vinyl on the road,” said Poepjes. “It’s like grooves on the record, but with literally grooves on the road. It’s a very basic concept.”

Residents could not get into the groove, however, because the anthem was reportedly playing throughout the day and night. There had also been complaints of people deliberately veering onto the shoulder.

“Last Saturday night the taxis were driving from Leeuwarden to Stiens and on the way back, they tried to go across the lines as quickly as possible and we had the anthem played all night at high speed,” said local resident Ria Jansma.

The strips were scraped off that following Wednesday.

"We were glad it worked but people should not be unhappy,” Poepjes told the BBC. “Other roads are more suitable for this."


Tagged categories: EU; Europe; Government; Health & Safety; Infrastructure; Project Management; Roads/Highways

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