Marching to the Beat of a Different Hum: 'Singing' Highway Turns Into 'Psychological Torture' for Residents
We’ve all been annoyed by an “earworm” in our lives — a catchy song that, even if you don’t like it, refuses to vacate your mind. Starship’s egregious, overplayed sell-out hit “We Built This City” falls firmly in this category. Grace Slick should be ashamed.
For residents living off the N357 highway near the Dutch town of Jelsum, however, this constantly repeating tune was the anthem of the Friesland region — but it wasn’t just in their heads. Blame motorists, a well-meaning but short-sighted local government, and patriotism.
As reported by Reuters, officials though installing carefully spaced rumble strips near the edge of roadway would be a nice way to celebrate the region’s distinct heritage, as well as give drivers a reason to maintain the road’s 60 km/h speed limit. Hit the bumps at that speed, and the impact of the car’s tires with the raised strips played the Frisian anthem.
Cute, but as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
After it was installed late last week, nearby residents began complaining of loud, non-stop music emanating from the patriotic pavement at all hours of the day.
“Last Saturday night the taxis were driving from Leeuwarden to Stiens and on the way back, they tried to go across the lines as quickly as possible and we had the anthem played all night at high speed,” local resident Ria Jansma complained to the media.
“The Frisian national anthem is fine, but not 24-hours a day,” Sijtze Jansma, who lives 200 metres from the road, told RTL Nieuws. “I’m going nuts. You can’t sit outside and you can’t sleep at night.” Another resident said the music was worse than the fighter jets that regularly take off from a nearby air base, as those takeoffs stop at 5 p.m.
For Margriet de Ruiter, the noise amounted to “psychological torture.”
After turning the residents of the town into Dutch Manuel Noriegas, provincial officials took pity, agreeing on Tuesday to dismantle the rumble strips. Including the cost of removal, this experiment in musical torture cost local taxpayers $99,000.
Watch the video below to see the road in action:
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