Route 66 ‘singing road’ debuts in New Mexico

Route 66 'singing road' at 364 Highway 66 East near Tijears
Route 66 'singing road' at 364 Highway 66 East near Tijears (KRQE News 13)

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Route 66 is known for neon signs, the iconic 66 sign and now a singing street. A section of the mother road in New Mexico now plays the patriotic tune “America the Beautiful” when someone drives over it.

“I’m thinking how cool is this that we actually have something as neat as ‘America the Beautiful’ playing on the highway,” said Eric Gibson.

The singing road was created because of National Geographic. It was built as part of National Geographic’s new show “Crowd Control.” The show uses fun experiments to change social behavior.

The goal of the rhythmic road, at 364 Highway 66 East near Tijears, is to help drivers stay focused.

“It requires you to drive the posted speed limit,” said New Mexico Department of Transportation Spokesperson Melissa Dosher.

The magic number is 45 miles-per-hour. If a driver goes even a couple miles over or under that the tune can’t be heard. Dosher said the department hopes the rumble strips will also keep drowsy drivers from falling asleep at the wheel.

Not everyone is pleased with the project.

“The only thing that I will say is I don’t drive that road every day and I’m glad I don’t,” said Evelyn Leyba.

While some may call the singing street annoying, others say it’s a unique addition.

“It’s extra cool that it’s here in New Mexico,” said Gibson.

To make the road sing, a local contractor put down metal plates along the road then poured asphalt on top of them. The plates combined with the rumble strips is what makes the sound when someone drives over it.

The singing road was paid for by National Geographic. It is a permanent addition to Route 66.

The only other singing road in the country is in California. It plays “William Tell Overture.”

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