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Marina expressway to open at end of year

SINGAPORE — When the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) opens at the end of this year, it will be able to carry 10,000 vehicles per hour each way, thus promising motorists a smoother commute to the new downtown at Marina Bay.

SINGAPORE — When the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) opens at the end of this year, it will be able to carry 10,000 vehicles per hour each way, thus promising motorists a smoother commute to the new downtown at Marina Bay.

The 5km-long expressway links the East Coast Parkway (ECP) and Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) with the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE). It will have a total of nine entry and exit points to the ECP, Marina Boulevard, Central Boulevard and Maxwell Road. Nine new gantries in the Central Business District (CBD) will be put up to replace the seven which will be removed.

During a visit to the new expressway’s operations control centre yesterday, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew gave the assurance that “motorists using these affected stretches of roads will not be crossing more ERP gantries than today”.

There will also be no changes in ERP charges or operating hours. Currently, gantries on the ECP in the direction towards Changi operate during evening peak hours between 6pm and 8pm, while those in the direction towards the city operate during the morning peak hours between 7.30am and 9.30am.

Built at a cost of S$4.3 billion, the MCE is Singapore’s 10th and most expensive expressway. With parts of it being constructed on recently reclaimed land in the 1970s and 1980s, engineers had to employ extensive ground improvement work to deal with and stabilise difficult soil conditions consisting of soft clay. It is also one of the Land Transport Authority’s most challenging projects, with large-scale excavations of up to 120m wide and 27m deep.

While 3.6km of the expressway will be underground, it also includes a 420m-long undersea tunnel — the first in Singapore — that runs parallel to the Marina Barrage.

This was another challenge as engineers had to ensure that temporary walls were strong enough to withstand the force of the discharge from the barrage as the undersea tunnel was being constructed.

Mr Lui said the LTA has completed all structural work for the MCE, and the tunnel is now being fitted with electrical and mechanical systems. “The MCE is on track to open by the end of the year,” he added.

With its opening, a stretch of the ECP after Benjamin Sheares Bridge will be converted into a network of normal arterial roads to serve Marina South — an area currently split into two unlinked sections by the ECP.

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