Marina Coastal Expressway to cost more than $4b to build

Construction for Singapore’s most expensive highway, the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE), has begun.

Costing more than $4 billion, it is much higher than the initial estimation of $2.5 billion due to the difficult soil conditions.

When completed, the 5-kilometre road will serve as a high speed link to the new Downtown area in Marina Bay.

It will also link up to the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway, East Coast Parkway and the Ayer Rajah Expressway.

The connection will in turn allow a section of the ECP to be coverted into arterial roads serving nearby developments such as the integrated resort.

Commuters who are not heading to the area can also use the MCE to bypass Marina Bay.

A special feature of the new expressway – Singapore’s tenth – is the road tunnel that runs under the sea, parallel to the Marina Barrage.

Transport Minister Raymond Lim, who broke ground for the project at the barrage, explained the complexity of the construction process.

“A 420-metre section of the MCE will be directly beneath the sea bed, making it one of LTA’s most technically challenging projects yet. At its deepest point the MCE will be at about 20 metres below mean sea level,” he said.

The difficult soil condition in the area means that excavation works could run as deep as 60 metres in certain sections, not to mention the width of the expressway – five lanes in each direction.

Director of the MCE project, Chuah Han Leong, said part of the road will also be constructed on reclaimed land.

“We are working very close to the coast and also quite far away from all the developments that are happening now, like the IR, the Marina Bay and the Financial Centre. We are basically next to the sea and we will use the right material as well as construction methods to make sure that all our construction is safe,” he said.

The MCE is expected to be ready by 2013.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 28 Apr 2009

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