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No radio needed on Lancaster's 'Musical Road' | Bartell's Backroads

Your tires play the tunes on this road, which was originally built for a car commercial.

LANCASTER, Calif. — No need for a radio when driving down West Avenue G in Lancaster. This road makes its own music.

Little grooves that were cut in the asphalt play a tune as tires roll over it. Locals call it the "Musical Road,” and according to Lancaster’s Vice Mayor, Marvin Crist, drivers might recognize the song. 

“It is the theme song to 'Lone Ranger,'” Crist said.

To be more specific the song is the William Tell Overture by Italian composer Gioachino Rossini. According to Crist, Lancaster’s musical road is the only one in the United States. 

“The only other ones are in Japan and North Korea,” Crist said, who also likes to explain why his city’s road plays music. “It was part of a commercial that Honda did in 2008.”

The commercial doubled as a publicity stunt to advertise the Honda Civic. Just one "note" to the story: the road seen in that commercial is not the same road people drive on today. 

“It was a big hit by all, except for the residents at 60th and K street. They could hear it all night,” Crist said.

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Noise complaints were so bad that the city spent $35,000 to remove and relocate the Musical Road next to the airport--and right in front of Brandon Cody’s house. 

“I wish the song would change,” Cody said. 

Not only does Cody have to listen to the same tune, he said the road also seems to be out of tune. 

“Kind of like a flat tire. 'BRRRRRRMMP,' very deep and loud,” Cody said.

When asked about the pitch and tone of the Musical Road, Vice Mayor Crist had this to say. 

“If you go 100 mph over it, it won’t play the song. It has to be 55 mph.” 

When the grooves were cut in the road they were spaced apart in such a way that the William Tell Overture could only be heard if you were going the legal speed limit.

The musical road is free and drivers can take as many passes as they want. Just make sure you don't drive over 55 mph and try to be respectful when passing by Brandon Cody’s house.

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