The Highway 101 bridge over Highway 116 in Cotati sports musical notes. Click to enlarge. Road Warrior photos

Cotati, home to Sonoma County’s annual accordion festival, has something else to sing about: The new Highway 101 retaining walls and overpass.

They’re decorated with music notes, although whether the notes actually make music is unknown.

The idea for the design originated with Cotati City Manager Dianne Thompson.

She said Caltrans came to the city with three general options for jazzing up the walls and overpass but none of them seem to fit Cotati.

“I did some sketching, gave it to Caltrans and they took it and ran with it,” she said.

“We wanted to select something for the sound walls that was unique to Cotati. And with our musical heritage, it seems like a good fit,” she said.

City officials suggested some songs to Caltrans, but once those were turned into wall sketches, the notes didn’t look good, she said.

And Caltrans was worried about getting caught up in a copyright flap, said Ramsey Hissen, a project manager with URS Corp. in San Jose who is overseeing the Highway 101 construction project from Pepper Road to Rohnert Park Expressway.

So, he said, Leah Haygood of the landscape design firm for the 101 project, Haygood & Associates in Albany, composed the song melody.

Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus said the song is called “Reaching For Center … Reaching For You.” Haygood couldn’t be reached for comment.

But once on paper, not all of the notes worked visually, so some were moved up or down until they did, he said.

Now the apparent mystery is what the final tune/melody/harmony/jingle sounds like.

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Music notes run across the top of the Highway 101 overpass at Highway 116. Click to enlarge.