See and hear it here:


A stretch of musical road in Lancaster is grooved to play,"The William Tell
Overture" when cars pass over it. The musical pavement, designed as an
advertising gimmick, has annoyed some of its neighbors.

If you're cruising down an open desert road this weekend and you hear the
theme to "The Lone Ranger," the hot sun isn't playing tricks with your mind.

You're grooving on the Civic Musical Road - a quarter-mile stretch of
asphalt in Lancaster that's been altered - rhythmically - to produce The
William Tell Overture when a car passes over it.

Part of a promotional campaign for the Honda Civic, it's one of only four in
the world - and the only such road in the United States.

"I hear it every day. It's kind of cool to be part of history," said David
Gilroy, 43, a carpenter who lives near the noteworthy

The grooves on a Lancaster road sound like "The Lone Ranger" when the
traffic is right. They play "The William Tell Overture" in a concept similar
to a needle playing an LP. Some motorists pass through the stretch several
times to hear the sound effect, made by specially cut grooves in the asphalt
that emit different sounds as the tires pass over them.

The concept is similar to a record player needle gliding across a vinyl LP.
The grooves were configured to create the music at 55 mph, the posted speed

The road, about six miles west of downtown Lancaster on Avenue K between
62nd and 70th streets west, has attracted curiosity seekers who have seen
YouTube videos of the phenomenon.

Lancaster resident P.J. Walker on Friday snapped a picture of her silver
2002 Honda Civic parked next to the sign marking the start of "The Civic
Musical Road."

"It would be fun if they did it in different places all over with different
songs," Walker said. "Something from the Beatles maybe, like `Yesterday,"'
she mused as she started humming the first notes of the Lennon and McCartney

But the road has not been music to some residents' ears. In fact, complaints
have been so vociferous, city officials plan to pave it over on Tuesday.

Detractors say it sounds nothing like the classic symphony by Gioachino
Rossini, but an unrecognizable screech. "I think it's terrible because it
keeps me awake at night," said Donna Martin, a 53-year-old retired budget
analyst who lives about a quarter-mile from the road. "It's all I hear night
and day, and it's not a pretty sound.

"You can kind of tell it's music, but it's not any tune or notes. It's a
scratchy sound, a high-pitch drone."

Brian Robin, who lives about a half-mile away, said it sounds like an
orchestra that's constantly out of tune.

"When you hear it late at night, it will wake you up from a sound sleep.
It's awakened my wife three or four times a night," Robin said.

Llano resident Peggy Hager said it sounded like a "high-pitched whine." She
couldn't identify the score, but knew it was a tune because it had a beat
and rhythm.

"I think it's kind of cool," Hager said. "When you are driving out on Avenue
K, you're going out to the middle of nowhere. It's kind of a nice surprise
to come across this thing."

Similar "melody" or "singing" roads have also been built in Japan, South
Korea and Holland.

The ad agency for Torrance-based American Honda, RPA of Santa Monica,
decided to incorporate the peculiar music-making method into a Civic
commercial that will air nationally in late September.

"Honda is an advanced engineering company, and we thought it would be fun to
connect that to the Civic marketing campaign," said Gary Paticoff, RPA's
senior vice president and executive producer.

Pauline East, Antelope Valley Film Office's liaison, said the location was
picked after Honda said it wanted a sense of community and city lights from
one angle, and a feeling of openness from the other. The city approved the
project as part of its overall effort to encourage more film and television

Half-inch-deep, 1-inch-wide grooves were notched into the road at specific
intervals so that a vehicle traveling over them produces tones, said Ray
Hunt, Lancaster's capital engineering manager.

"It's similar to the rumble strips along center medians," Hunt said. "They
did test strips to identify the spacing needed to create the sound they

Honda spokesman Chris Martin said the singing road was designed to be heard
optimally in a Honda Civic. "It's engineered for the Civic, for that type of
tires and length of vehicle," Martin said.

The roadwork was completed Sept. 5. Soon after that, people started

The city had been told at the beginning that only motorists inside their
cars would experience the sound, but the noise carried farther than
expected, city officials said.

"Was it historic? Yes. Maybe the wrong location? Obviously," East said. "We
thought it was far enough away."