If you thought the “Music Highway” stretched between Memphis and Nashville, you are only partially right. On a road north of Los Angeles near Lancaster, city workers got to work last week on recreating the notes of the “William Tell Overture” by carving grooves into the pavement of Avenue G. Centerpiece of a forthcoming Honda commercial, the original and now new sections of road employ grooves on a specially-engineered quarter mile section of road that produce the melody when motorists drive over it at 55 mph. The city paved over the first stretch two weeks after the first road was completed after neighbors complained the noise was annoying and keeping them awake. The city, however, received hundreds of calls praising the road and decided to recreate the road in an industrial area away from homes. Now they are spending over $30,000 on the new project.
The City Council has approved spending up to $35,000 for the work, but officials said there has been interest from several companies in sponsoring the road and reimbursing the cost in return for publicity.
The quarter-mile stretch of Avenue K renamed “Civic Musical Road” features grooves cut into the pavement in such a way as to make the tires resonate to the tune of Gioachino Rossini’s music. The road, which Honda claimed sounded best when “played” on a new Civic going exactly 55 miles per hour, was just one of four “melody roads” in the world and the first in America. Honda’s ad agency, which plans to include the musical road in an ad that will air later this month, chose Lancaster based on its feeling of openness and community, then prompty paved over it after that crazed insomnia-induced community lunged at them with pitchforks. Reportedly many people were making multiple trips, day and night, to play the tune over and over again. Honda officials apologized to all who complained, including some who lived as far as a half mile from “Civic Musical Road” and still heard it. It was believed to be the first such musical road in the United States, although there are others in Japan, South Korea and the Netherlands.