Musical Sea-to-Sky Highway could be Whistler's "r'Ode to Joy"

A part-time Whistler resident wants drivers to be able to make music on the Sea-to-Sky Highway.

Part-time Whistler resident proposes cutting grooves on Highway 99 so cars make music as they roll

Ian MacDonald wants grooves on the road to play Ode to Joy as people drive over them. 6:28

A part-time Whistler resident wants to turn the Sea-to-Sky into a musical highway by installing grooves that would play Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 as vehicles are driven over them.

Ian MacDonald thinks making the Sea-to-Sky a musical highway would be the perfect way to welcome tourists to Whistler. (Ian MacDonald)

Ian MacDonald says there are musical highways in Korea, Japan, Denmark and Lancaster, Calif

He believes the idea could boost tourism in the Whistler area.

"Whistler is a world-class destination, and for those people who I talk to from different parts of the world, they're dazzled by the sights of it," he told Kathryn Gretsinger on CBC's The Early Edition.

"It would be amazing if you could have an added aural component as you enter Whistler for the first time."

MacDonald has taken his proposal to Whistler council, which has referred the plan to staff for consideration.

He has also spoken with officials in B.C.'s highways ministry.

MacDonald is also preparing his own feasibility study to convince lawmakers that a musical highway would make the Sea-to-Sky sing.

MacDonald believes Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 (sometimes referred to as Ode to Joy) would be the ideal piece of music for the Sea-to-Sky Highway.

He wants the musical stretch of highway to begin at the entrance to Whistler, near Function Junction.

"For those people who know Whistler, there's the Symphony Bowl, the Flute Ridge, the High Note Trail," says MacDonald.

"I'm going to call it the r'Ode to Joy."

Musical highway in California cost $30,000 USD

The Sea-to-Sky would be transformed into a musical highway by cutting grooves or ridges into the pavement.

When the right pattern is used, different musical notes can be made as a vehicle traverses that section of road.

People inside and outside the vehicle would be able to hear the tune.

In the City of Lancaster, Calif., a musical highway has been in place since 2008.

The city's capital program manager Ray Hunt says it's put them on the map.

"It's not necessarily a necessity, but it's something that gives pleasure to people who come out and see it," said Hunt. "It's pretty cool."

Hunt says the musical stretch of road wasn't expensive.

"When we constructed the musical road, it cost us about $30,000 and that's just the physical construction costs. It's pretty standard construction techniques."

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