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Marina Coastal Expressway opens

SINGAPORE — The new Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) opened to traffic at 9am this morning (Dec 29).

SINGAPORE — The new Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) opened to traffic at 9am this morning (Dec 29).

The 5km-long MCE is Singapore’s 10th expressway and the first road tunnel to go beneath the sea. It links 

The expressway has been described as arguably “the toughest tunnelling project” the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has ever undertaken, Senior Minister of State for Transport and Finance Josephine Teo said at the opening ceremony of the S$4.3 billion project yesterday.

The expressway, with five lanes in each direction, will connect the East Coast Parkway (ECP) in the east to the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) in the west.

As vehicles currently using the ECP to connect to the AYE will be channelled to the MCE after Dec 29, a stretch of the ECP west of Benjamin Sheares Bridge, where the two highways intersect with the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE), will be downgraded into an arterial road, and a 1km stretch of the existing ECP after Central Boulevard will be expunged.

To facilitate these roadworks, which will be completed by third quarter of next year, motorists using Central Boulevard and Marina Boulevard will need to use an interim road network to enter and exit the Marina Bay area.

The MCE will also link motorists directly to downtown Marina South through new connections with Central Boulevard, Marina Boulevard and Maxwell Road.

Mrs Teo said yesterday that the 420m section running beneath the sea and linking the MCE between Marina East and Marina South also happens to be just 130m from the Marina Barrage.

As the barrage discharges large amounts of water during periods of heavy rain, currents in the construction area can be quite strong and not always predictable.

Mrs Teo added the other challenge was building most of the tunnel through reclaimed land.

“The LTA engineers described the ground conditions as being similar to “peanut butter”,” said Mrs Teo.

More than 4 million cubic metres of soil were removed — enough to fill 1,700 swimming pools.

The MCE, together with the existing Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE), will make the longest underground expressway in South-east Asia.

KPE-MCE will have a continuous stretch of more than 12km.

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