It’s not ghosts or whale songs - Why I-496 sounds haunted

The mystery behind I-496′s strange noises has been solved.
Rest assured, it’s not ghosts, it’s the asphalt.
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 3:37 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 1, 2023 at 4:27 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - For those who have driven down I-496 recently, you may have noticed some other-worldly noises.

Rest assured, it’s not ghosts, it’s the asphalt. According to Aaron Jenkins, with the Michigan Department of Transportation, the sound is caused by a texture the asphalt takes on when it’s laid down in colder temperatures. Asphalt is typically laid down in warmer months, but the I-496 project saw delays.

More: WILX News 10 Live Traffic Map

“The sound will get quieter as more traffic moves over the surface. Overtime that will smooth out, but in these cold temps that texture really kind of solidifies and it really stands out and it makes this humming noise,” Jenkins said. “The sound can vary depending on the lane a person is in and the vehicle someone is driving.”

Jenkins added that tire sizes and tread patterns can also make a significant impact on how the noise sounds.

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