Flash floods shut down part of AYE for 40 mins

Flash floods shut down part of AYE for 40 mins
A picture posted on Facebook shows cars being stranded along the Ayer Rajah Expressway during one of the recent flash-floods.

SINGAPORE - Flash floods hit many parts of western Singapore on Thursday morning, shutting down a citybound stretch of the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) for 40 minutes during morning rush hour.

Cars were stranded along the expressway, after water from the heavy rain, which could not find its way into the bloated Sungei Pandan Kechil canal, spilt onto the 90m stretch, creating a 0.5m deep pool.

It is not the first time that the canal has overflowed onto the expressway, although Thursday's episode was the worst.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan said PUB, the national water agency, will have a lot to do in that area now. "I think it's not acceptable to have a major expressway shut down because of a flood, so I told PUB we've got to do our best to make sure this doesn't recur in the future."

The most immediate task, he said, is to expand the culverts immediately to the south of the AYE. For the long term, PUB will look at expanding the canal. A barrage may even be necessary, added Dr Balakrishnan.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said 119.2mm of rain was dumped before noon on Thursday.

That is more than the amount of rain that fell for the whole of last September - 107.6mm.

At least five trees were uprooted by the torrential downpour, including one during evening peak hour on Orchard Road which blocked four of its five lanes.

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