If you’re ever traveling near or through Tijeras, New Mexico, you may want to make a pit stop (or, more appropriately, a drive by) for this, just because it’s different…and, dare I say, music to your ears.
Tijeras is a small town outside of Alberqueque – its population in 2011 was just 548. It’s known for some hiking trails and an archeological site but in recent years it’s been best known for its music. Not any sort of music, but a special, few-of-a-kind type. If you drive on the rumble strip of a certain stretch of the old, historic Rt. 66 in Tijeras and maintain the speed limit of 45mph, you’ll heard the song, “America The Beautiful.”
The permanent rumble strip was created via a partnership between the New Mexico Department of Transportation and National Geographic. Nat-Geo paid for project, which can be found at 364 Highway 66 East, in 2014, as part of a TV show they were running at the time. The experience is quite the engineering feat – it was created by using individual metal plates placed within the pavement at specific distances from each other. You have to drive the speed limit in order to hear the music – if you go too slow or too fast and it won’t work.
But that’s not all!
Believe it or not, there’s another, less well known, musical road in the country – in Lancaster, California to be exact – that has a similar style of rumble strips that can be found in the left hand lane of westbound Avenue G between 30th Street W and 40th Street W. It was installed as a TV stunt ad by Honda a few years before the National Geographic version, and that one (kinda, sorta) plays the William Tell Overture if you go the 55mph speed limit.
The goal of these rumble strips is to keep people aware of the speed limit while they’re driving. If you know where to look for them and make it your business to experience them, I’d say it works ;-).
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