Europe

Dutch 'singing road' closed after neighbours' complaints

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Media captionThe sound was created when cars drove over strategically-laid strips on the road

It was an idea to improve road safety: special strips on the asphalt would play a tune when cars drove over them at the correct speed.

But residents of a nearby village in the Netherlands said the constant noise was driving them mad.

One called it "psychological torture". Another said cars were going faster to see if the song played at double speed.

After pressure, officials closed the "singing road" on Tuesday, just one day after it had been officially opened.

For the road to play out the anthem of the northern province of Friesland, cars had to drive at the speed limit of 60km/h (40mph).

'You can't sleep'

The sound was created when cars drove over strategically-laid rumble strips, which are usually deployed at the side of roads to warn drivers against veering off.

But it quickly became clear that locals were not singing the same tune.

"I'm going nuts. You can't sit outside and you can't sleep at night," Sijtze Jansma told RTL News.

Ria Jansma told Reuters news agency: "Last Saturday night, taxis... tried to go across the lines as quickly as possible and we had the anthem playing all night at high speed."

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Sietske Poepjes, the local minister for infrastructure and cultural affairs, said the project on a stretch of the N357 road was a way to promote the city of Leeuwarden, this year's European Capital of Culture, while also testing a new paint for roads.

"It works amazingly well. You can hear the melody," she told the BBC. "We were glad it worked but people should not be unhappy... Other roads are more suitable for this."

The strips were installed on Friday and cost €80,000 (£69,800; $99,000), including the expenses for their removal, a spokesman for Friesland province said.

"It was an experiment on how to influence the behaviour of drivers."

But he added: "I was there myself and if you're living there it was unpleasant.

"The idea is good, but a lot of people said it was a lot of noise, that they couldn't sleep anymore... Now it will be quiet and people will enjoy life again."

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