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This road in Beijing sings as you drive

The Chinese love karaoke. They call it KTV and it’s one of their national pastimes, but now they’ve taken it one step further and made their roads sing too.

Yep, this one 300-metre stretch of highway in rural Fengtai District has been cleverly designed so that as you drive over it, it sings a patriotic ditty: ‘Ode To The Motherland’ (typical, China).

Surprisingly, the technology behind this singing road is actually very simple. The road has been lined with grooves of varying depths and distances apart in the concrete. As cars drive over it, the friction on each groove produces a different tone, which combine to give you about 30 seconds of some phat beats.

South China Morning Post reported that the road had previously led to a now-defunct coal mine, was rarely used and had been in poor condition for years.

Locals decided to turn it into a singing road and connected it to nearby Qianlingshan Park to encourage tourism.

The jazzy tunes also have a safety feature: as drivers have to maintain a steady speed of 35-40 kilometres an hour in order to hear the tune, designers are hoping it will raise awareness of safe driving speeds.

Lin Zhong, the general manager of Beijing Luxin Dacheng landscape architecture company, which designed the road, said, “Our first idea is to get cars moving at a constant speed because only in that way can you get good musical effect. We use it as a reminder of speed limit.”

Of course, this is not the first singing road in the world, or even in China. the first musical road was created in Denmark in 1995, by two artists who called it the Asphaltophone.

In Tijeras, New Mexico, a stretch of Route 66 plays ‘America The Beautiful’ if you’re travelling the speed limit. In Lancaster, California, a road plays the ‘William Tell Overture’ – though it had to be moved to a more remote area after residents complained about the noise.

Japan also has several singing roads (no surprise in the country obsessed with novelty), most famously near Mt Fuji.

About the author

Hannah loves to travel but can’t read a map, so she has plenty of good stories to tell.

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