Netherlands officials permanently quiet bothersome new ‘singing road’
A Netherlands village’s attempt to discourage distracted driving seems only to have further diverted drivers’ and villagers’ attention from safe driving practices.
Local officials of the coastal province of Friesland sought to “make a cultural event” of the issue of distracted driving by establishing a “singing road.” Road crews painted approximately 490 feet of the newly paved 124-mile length of the popularly traveled road with musical rumble strips that play a segment of the regional anthem, “De Alde Friezen,” when drivers embark on the road at 38 mph. “We don’t speak Dutch; we speak Frisian,” said Sietske Poepjes, the vice governor of the Friesland Province. “So that’s why we gained the title of cultural capital in 2018, and we wanted to highlight that.”
And sonically highlight the province did. Although well intentioned, the installation of the musical road, an initiative that came at the price of 80,000 euros ($90,000 USD), has led the villagers to complain of the road as “psychological torture,” the constant noise from the rumble strips disturbing the sleep of many villagers.
As for drivers, the painting of the musical rumble strips has reportedly only encouraged some motorists to intentionally increase their speed while traveling on the road and aiming for the strips. The strips have since been removed, just two days after their implementation.