ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Is it the day the music died for the singing road? Those who live near the popular attraction say the song is getting harder to hear as you drive down Route 66.
Drivers on old Route 66 once played America the Beautiful with their tires, “If you just follow the grooves in the road you will hear the thing,” says Anne Wiker.
Now when you drive along on the singing road near Tijeras, residents say it’s a little harder to hear. “We know it’s there so we hear it right away,” says Angela Lybarger.
Tuesday, the song was easily overpowered by the wind. “It’s not the complete song anymore because of it being as old as it is,” Wiker says.
The singing road debuted near Tijeras back in 2014. Residents say not only has the tune faded, they’ve also noticed these musical road signs are no longer around. “It’s a shame to see different things go by the wayside and apparently that’s what’s happening to that,” Wiker says.
Back in 2016, Route 66 revitalization organization Retro 66 pushed for improvements to the road. But nothing was done. Tuesday the Department of Transportation tells us there are no plans or funding for updates on the road right now. “It would be nice if they would fix it again I don’t know if with New Mexico’s finances if they are ever going to be able to again,” Wiker says.
While the road may not sing as loud or as clear as it used to, “We still see people that turn around and go back over the strips so they can hear the music again,” Lybarger says. The singing road, which is a permanent addition to Route 66, was paid for by National Geographic.
Statement from Bernalillo County Commissioner Charlene Pyskoty:
“Over the course 2019, my office has received numerous inquiries and questions about the status and maintenance of the ‘Singing Road’ located on NM-333 (Historic Rt. 66) in the East Mountains of Bernalillo County. The ‘Singing Road’ was built and constructed in 2014 and, to my knowledge, has never been maintained… Sadly, it is now falling into disrepair. The signs that mark the ‘Singing Road’ have been removed and the road paint marking this unique attraction no longer exists. The tune of “America the Beautiful” is sadly also becoming increasingly quiet and starting to fade away.”
Last month, the Bernalillo County Public Works Division reached out to the NMDOT to inquire about the county taking over the maintenance of the “Singing Road” in order to preserve this awesome landmark. We were told that the NMDOT was interested in meeting with the county to discuss a solution. We are also currently seeking assistance from local area legislators to preserve and protect this important community landmark.