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  Straits Times 28 Jul 07
3-km tunnel linking PIE and ECP opens in October
It is part of the KPE; new Marina Coastal Expressway also gets the go-ahead
By T. Rajan


Business Times 28 Jul 07
Govt okays plan for new $2.5b Marina highway
Phase One of KPE to open to traffic on Oct26: Raymond Lim
By SAMUEL EE

Today Online 28 Jul 07
Shorter new route to the city
KPE will make it quicker for motorists from east, north
Leong Wee Keat

Channel NewsAsia 27 Jul 07
ECP to be realigned for new Marina Coast Expressway

SINGAPORE: Part of the East Coast Parkway will soon be realigned to make way for a new expressway, called the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE), to ease congestion in the downtown Marina area.

The move, which was announced by Transport Minister Raymond Lim at the Intelligent Transport Systems Centre, will also free up land for more commercial developments there.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said the new expressway will be built by 2013 at a cost of S$2.5 billion.

Mr Lim said: "The government has given the go-ahead to build another expressway the Marina Coastal Expressway or MCE for short. When it is completed in about 6 years' time, it will provide an additional high-speed link to the Marina Bay area to support the development of this new downtown."

The new 5-kilometre MCE will link the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) in the east to the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) in the west, so commuters who are not headed downtown can bypass the Marina Bay area.

To make way for the new expressway, the East Coast Parkway (ECP) at Marina South will be realigned and converted to a major road to serve the Marina Bay area.

Paul Fok, LTA's Group Director for Engineering, said: "Currently the East Coast Parkway runs through the new downtown at Marina Bay, with the expressway going through the downtown. What it means is that the city cannot extend beyond the expressway into the Marina Bay because from an expressway, you can't access the developments.

"With the construction of the MCE, which will be nearer towards the sea, we will be able to realign the East Coast Parkway and ensure that people can access the development from East Coast Parkway. For example, people from the Marina Sands integrated resort will be able to join the realigned East Coast Parkway because there will be traffic light junctions."

To facilitate the building of the MCE, 13.3 ha of land reclamation will be carried out at Marina East and Marina Wharf.

The MCE will be constructed mainly underground, so that land above it can be used for other purposes. The route will comprise a 3.5-kilometre-long underground tunnel and a 1.5-kilometre road structure above ground.

The construction of the new expressway will be no easy task because part of MCE will run underneath the seabed, just 150 metres away from the Marina Barrage, which needs to be opened from time to time to allow water to flow out in the event of heavy rain.

Engineers will, therefore, have to take into consideration the large amount of water that will be released and figure out how to build the MCE safely.

The opening of phase 1 of the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway on 26 October was also announced on Friday.

This first phase will extend from the ECP at Fort Road to the Pan-Island Expressway ( PIE). The LTA said commuters can cut travelling time by 5 to 8 minutes using this new underground expressway.

Yam Ah Mee, LTA's Chief Executive, said: "The way the KPE is built linking the northeast corridor to the city residents in the northeast corridor will have an alternative travelling route to the city. Those who now travel along the Tampines Expressway and join the CTE will also have an option to use the KPE.

"On the other hand, residents on the western and north-western part of Singapore will also have lesser traffic on the CTE and so we expect improvement in traffic all round."

Phase 1 of the KPE will have three Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantries, but only one will be charging motorists. The LTA said the other gantries are placed there for monitoring purposes and it will assess the traffic flow to determine if more payment should be levied after a month.

The entire KPE, stretching from the ECP to the Tampines Expressway (TPE), will open later next year. When that happens, residents in Sengkang, Punggol and Hougang will find their travel time to the city cut by 25 percent. The 12-kilometre-long KPE, which cost S$1.7 billion to build, is the longest underground expressway in Southeast Asia.

Since much of it is underground, the consequences of a major accident are far more serious compared to an open expressway. Hence, the LTA is embarking on a safety education programme on the use of the tunnel. More information on the KPE is available online at www.kpeunderground.sg - CNA/so

Business Times 28 Jul 07
Govt okays plan for new $2.5b Marina highway
Phase One of KPE to open to traffic on Oct26: Raymond Lim
By SAMUEL EE

WHILE announcing that the $1.7 billion Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) will open in October, Transport Minister Raymond Lim yesterday unveiled plans for the new Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE).

Mr Lim said Phase One of the KPE will be opened to traffic on Oct26, while the rest of the expressway will be ready by end-2008. The 12-km-long KPE stretches from the East Coast Parkway (ECP) at Fort Road to the Tampines Expressway. Nine kilometres of the KPE consists of an underground tunnel, making it the longest underground expressway in South-east Asia, with its lowest point being 22m below the Geylang River.

Phase One is the section from the ECP to the PIE. 'With the KPE, motorists from Kallang, Geylang and the surrounding neighbourhoods, as well as those coming from the north, will have an alternative route, besides the PIE and CTE, to reach the CBD,' said Mr Lim. He added that when the rest of the KPE is completed, residents in Hougang, Buangkok, Sengkang and Punggol will have a more direct route to the city centre.

This will ease congestion on the CTE and cut travelling time from the north-east to the city by up to 25 per cent. Mr Lim was speaking during a visit to the newly renovated Intelligent Transport Systems Centre on River Valley Road. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) monitors and manages the island's traffic flows from this state-of-the-art centre.

Mr Lim also announced that the government had approved the construction of the $2.5 billion MCE. The 5-km, dual five-lane expressway will connect the KPE and ECP to the AYE, with direct connections to the Marina South and Straits View areas.

A section of the project - 3.5km - will be underground and underwater. LTA will start construction next year and finish by end-2013.

'When completed in about six years' time...it will provide an additional high-speed link to the Marina Bay area to support the development of this New Downtown comprising the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort, the Sail, the Marina Bay Financial Centre, as well as future developments,' said Mr Lim.

A total of 13.3ha of land reclamation will be carried out at Marina East and Marina Wharf to facilitate the building of the MCE, and part of the expressway will run along reclaimed land.

Today Online 28 Jul 07
Shorter new route to the city
KPE will make it quicker for motorists from east, north
Leong Wee Keat weekeat@mediacorp.com.sg

Motorists from Kallang, Geylang and the surrounding neighbourhoods, as well as those coming from the north, will have an alternative route to reach the city when a part of the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) opens on Oct 26.

The 3km underground stretch will be a link for the areas and the Pan Island Expressway (PIE), to the East Coast Parkway (ECP). Travel time from the East Coast to Paya Lebar area will be halved or reduced by almost 10 to 15 minutes.

And when the KPE is fully completed next year, travel time from the north-east to the city would be cut by up to 25 per cent, Transport Minister Raymond Lim said on Friday. During peak hours, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said island-wide travel time would be shortened by 6 per cent.

"Residents in Hougang, Buangkok, Sengkang and Punggol will have a more direct route to the city centre, and this will help to ease congestion on the CTE (Central Expressway)," Mr Lim said.

The KPE starts from the ECP in the south, continues under Upper Paya Lebar Road and Airport Road and connects to the Tampines Expressway (TPE). Nine km of the KPE will be underground, making it the longest underground expressway in South-east Asia.

Even as one expressway nears completion, Mr Lim said that the Government has given the green light for another the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE). When ready by end-2013, this will link the ECP and the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE).

"It (MCE) will provide an additional high-speed link to the Marina Bay area to support the development of this New Downtown comprising the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort, the Sail, the Marina Bay Financial Centre, as well as other future developments," Mr Lim said.

More importantly, LTA said it would allow valuable land to be used as the city area is extended into Marina Bay. Traffic will be diverted underground while a current 2km ECP stretch at Marina South will be realigned into a major arterial road.

Construction of the 5km dual five-lane MCE will start in the fourth quarter of next year and is estimated to cost $2.5 billion. The 12km-long KPE, in comparison, costs less at $1.7 billion.

The higher cost for the MCE was because construction costs have increased over the past few years, LTA chief executive Yam Ah Mee said.

LTA's engineering group director Paul Fok said the MCE's construction would also pose greater challenges. A 420m stretch, part of the 3.5km underground tunnel, would be built under the seabed.

Engineers also have to consider the nearby Marina Barrage, where the reservoir will discharge water whenever there is a risk of flooding.

To manage traffic on the KPE, two Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantries will be installed. These will only be activated when traffic speeds fall below 45km/h. One other ERP gantry will also be installed at the southbound KPE exit, near Fort Road, which links into the west-bound ECP. A KPE web portal, www.kpeunderground.sg, was launched on Friday by Mr Lim.

Straits Times 28 Jul 07
3-km tunnel linking PIE and ECP opens in October
It is part of the KPE; new Marina Coastal Expressway also gets the go-ahead
By T. Rajan

FROM Oct 26, motorists will be able to move between the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) and the East Coast Parkway (ECP) using a new 3km stretch of road tunnel.

Traffic from the PIE will head underground at Kallang Bahru before surfacing at the ECP near Fort Road, when the first phase of the $1.7 billion Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) opens. The rest of the 12km expressway, which links housing estates in the north-east of Singapore to the PIE and the city, will open late next year.

Announcing the timetable yesterday, Transport Minister Raymond Lim said: 'When this happens, residents in Hougang, Buangkok, Sengkang and Punggol will have a more direct route to the city centre, and this will help ease congestion on the CTE.' Travel time from the north-east to the city will be cut by up to 25 per cent, he added.

One person eager to make the switch from the Central Expressway (CTE) to the new KPE is MacPherson resident John Sam. The 49-year-old retail manager, who drives to the Central Business District for meetings regularly, said: 'If traffic along the KPE is smooth, I will definitely use that route instead of the CTE, where the ERP costs are very high and it is always congested.' Just how much he will have to pay remains to be seen.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has installed two Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantries along the stretch of KPE opening soon, but will adopt a wait-and-see approach.

LTA chief Yam Ah Mee told reporters yesterday: 'We will monitor traffic speeds along the KPE on a monthly basis. If it drops below the optimum speed of 45kmh, we will begin ERP charges.'

But charges to the city, when travelling west-bound from the ECP and south-bound from the PIE, remain. Motorists will have to pay rates ranging from $1.00 to $2.50 when taking this route between 7.30am and 9.30am.

There is also the issue of preparing motorists for driving though South-east Asia's longest tunnel, which will stretch 9km when fully completed. The consequences of a major accident or emergency in an underground tunnel can be far more serious, Mr Lim said.

'Drivers will need to be more careful in how they drive. It will be even more important for drivers to practise safe driving habits, such as staying in their lanes and keeping alert,' he said.

LTA will roll out a public education programme over the next three months on how to use the tunnel safely and how to get out in an emergency. More safety information can be found on the KPE website at www.kpeunderground.sg

Just as work on the KPE winds down, Mr Lim said that the Government has given the go- ahead to start building a new 5km-long expressway, Singapore's 10th, which will link the ECP to the Ayer Rajah Expressway.

Branching off from the ECP just before the Marina Bay golf course, it will skirt the coastline and tunnel beneath the channel and under Marina South before emerging before the Marina Wharf area to link up with the AYE.

Mr Lim said: 'When it is completed in about six years' time, it will provide an additional high-speed link to the Marina Bay area to support the development of this new downtown.'

On completion in 2013, the Marina Coastal Expressway will also allow traffic to move from the east of the island to the west quickly, without cutting through the New Downtown.

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