Wednesday 17 September 2014

New roads connecting MCE to city centre to open Sep 28

LTA says it has drawn lessons from the confusion that greeted the opening of the MCE last December, and has taken several measures to ensure motorists understand the changes.
By Sharon See, Channel NewsAsia, 15 Sep 2014

New roads in the Marina South area will be opened on Sunday (Sep 28), giving motorists using the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) "a more direct connection" to the city centre, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced on Monday (Sep 15).

The straightening of Central Boulevard will give "a smoother connection" from MCE Exits 2 and 3 towards Shenton Way and Bayfront Avenue, the LTA said. As part of the road changes, Bayfront Avenue will be extended to the Marina Bay MRT station.

Those driving from the Tanjong Pagar area, including Anson Road, Maxwell Road and Shenton Way, can make use of a new direct connection from Maxwell Road to get onto the MCE towards KPE and ECP, the LTA said. The existing slip road from MCE Exit 1 will also be realigned to Maxwell Road. A stretch of slip road between Maxwell Road and Central Boulevard will also be removed.

Due to the changes to the road network, bus services 106, 133, 400 and 402 will be re-routed, said the LTA. The existing bus stop along Central Boulevard (towards MCE) in front of Marina Bay Financial Centre will be removed, and the affected bus services will be re-routed to the bus stop along Marina Boulevard.

Two other bus stops, located along Central Boulevard (towards Shenton Way) and Marina Station Road, will also be removed, and bus services 97, 106, 133, 400, 402, 502 and 513 will now stop at a new bus stop located after the junction of Central Boulevard and Bayfront Avenue, said the LTA.


For those travelling from Maxwell Road to MCE, the new route is 600 metres shorter than the old one of entering AYE through Shenton Way. With a straightened Central Boulevard, there is also no longer a need to make a detour around Marina Bay MRT Station to reach Shenton Way, reducing the journey by 400 metres.

But with one slip road removed, turning into Central Boulevard from Bayfront Avenue means having to travel 100 metres more.

Chua Chong Kheng, LTA's Deputy CEO, said that when the MCE was first built, some road connections were not possible due to the ECP. "We actually had to demolish the structures before we can build these connections. And in order to demolish the ECP, we had to close the ECP. And before ECP can be closed, we need to open the MCE," he explained. "These had to be done in two stages, very clearly. So this was all planned right from the beginning."


When the MCE first opened in late December, there was a massive jam as drivers got confused about where they should turn. At the time, drivers said the signs were poorly designed and confusing. The LTA says it has learnt from that experience, and is taking several measures to help road users understand the changes.

These include:
- More extensive use of overhead gantries
- More lane-use signage
- Icons included in signage content to guide people to spots like the Cruise Centre
- Familiar sites like Shenton Way used as reference points, so motorists will feel assured that they are going in the right direction
Said Mr Chua: "We have actually done a focus group discussion and consultation with Friends of LTA to give us independent feedback on the signage - whether they are useful or whether they should be tweaked further. On top of that, we are going to organise a test drive with them as well as other people who are not involved in this project, this will be carried out sometime on Sep 23."

Motorists are also advised to plan their routes in advance, and LTA will upload eight videos from Wednesday (Sep 17) showing various routes, to help drivers get familiar with the roads before they travel on them.

More information on the road network changes is available on the LTA home page and on the LTA’s Youtube channel. In addition, LTA will send brochures and circulars to tenants in the area to inform them about the changes, and there will be lunch-time exhibitions at the Marina Bay Financial Centre, MND Building and URA Centre.

Motorists test new roads linking to MCE
LTA to make final tweaks after test drivers' feedback for Sunday's opening
By Adrian Lim, The Straits Times, 25 Sep 2014

TO AVOID a repeat of the confusion and congestion when the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) opened late last year, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) gave motorists a chance to test new roads before they open on Sunday.

For the first time in the wee hours of yesterday morning, it conducted a feedback exercise, allowing 50 motorists to drive through the new roads that will provide a more direct connection between the undersea expressway and the city.

These connections include a straightened Central Boulevard that will run parallel to Marina Boulevard, direct access from Maxwell Road to the MCE and an extension of Bayfront Avenue to Marina South MRT station.

Three members of the public were among the 50 motorists who tried out the new roads from 1am to 4am.

The rest were LTA staff from departments not related to MCE's construction.

MCE project deputy director R. Jaysankar said the drive-through is part of LTA's "ongoing efforts and measures" to improve the expressway.

Asked about the traffic snarls at MCE's opening last December, he replied that after feedback from motorists, the signs along the expressway are now clearer.

New signs, such as overhead gantry signs that are more visible and lane-use signs which direct motorists, have also been introduced, said Mr Jaysankar. These signs were also seen on the new roads linked to the MCE when The Straits Times drove through the area.

Yesterday, LTA said that it had received suggestions from some of the motorists to adjust the placement of certain signs to make them more visible.

It did not reveal details on which signs were singled out, but it said it would take these views into consideration and make final tweaks before the opening of the roads at 5am on Sunday.

One of the test drivers, Mr Ng Lee Kwang, 49, said that the straightening of Central Boulevard made it easier for motorists to see the directional signs.

The general manager of a car rental company added that the new link from the MCE to Maxwell Road was also "very clear" and would shave about three to five minutes off his travelling time.

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