$40m Fort Canning Tunnel to open in January

A new $40 million road tunnel is to open in the Fort Canning area in January, after three years of construction. Motorists along Stamford Road will be able to drive straight through where the old red-bricked National Library used to stand.Currently, motorists have to slow down, turn and stop at two traffic light junctions, but when the tunnel opens, they can go straight to Penang Road into the town area or head right, through Prinsep Street, into Little India at speeds expected to average about 50 kilometres an hour.

A new ERP gantry, though, will be built here to close up the Orchard Road ERP cordon.

While the tunnel is short, at just 350 metres, its design and construction under Fort Canning Park still took time. A special mining method was used to construct about half the tunnel.

“We’ve got to do step-by-step excavation every one metre. We’ve got to monitor the roads and buildings around the area very closely,” said Choo Eng Geok, Project Manager, Road Construction, Land Transport Authority.

By digging the tunnel through the hill, authorities said they managed to save some 35 trees, including a 50-year-old tree.

The tunnel also has special features, like cables to prevent dropped mobile phone calls and maintain radio coverage, and ventilation jets in case of congestion or fire.

Source: Channel NewsAsia, 21 November 2006 

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