Start of 'greening' phase of first-of-its-kind $16 million eco-bridge

Start of 'greening' phase of first-of-its-kind $16 million eco-bridge
NParks partner, Mr Subaraj Rajathurai, and Minister of State for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee, with an Oriental Whip Snake that was found at the Eco-Link@BKE site

Located about 600m north of Rifle Range Road, between the Pan-Island Expressway and Dairy Farm exits, Eco-Link@BKE is a 62m-long overhead bridge that reconnects the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Central Cachment area - forests separated by the Bukit Timah Expressway since 1986.


Get the full story from The Straits Times.

Here is the full press release from National Parks:

Greening of Eco-Link@BKE begins

Close partnership between government agencies and the community turns Eco-Link@BKE from vision to reality

To kick-start the greening of Eco-Link@BKE, representatives from government agencies and non-governmental organisations came together this morning to plant 50 native trees at the site. First of its kind in Singapore, the Eco-Link@BKE is an ecological bridge that connects two nature reserves over an expressway. Greening of Eco-Link@BKE is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

From the start of the project, nature groups, non-governmental organisations, tertiary institutions, schools, volunteers and government agencies have worked closely with National Parks Board (NParks) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to conduct feasibility studies and ecological monitoring surveys. The baseline data will be used as a comparison against the findings of future surveys to evaluate the effectiveness of Eco-Link@BKE.

"The tree-planting this morning represents the contributions of various stakeholders in making Eco-Link@BKE a reality. This project has brought together Singapore's wildlife experts, nature enthusiasts, and government agencies in an unprecedented effort to connect two nature reserves. As we commemorate 50 Years of Greening Singapore in 2013, the development of Eco-Link@BKE shows us how Singapore's City in a Garden vision can be achieved - through working in close partnership with the community. We want to express our sincere appreciation and thanks to all who have contributed to the project; we also look forward to the continued support and involvement of NGOs and volunteers for future surveys." said NParks Chief Executive Officer, Mr Poon Hong Yuen.

Wildlife will be able to move between the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves by the end of the year. At the onset, NParks expects insects, butterflies and birds to cross the bridge. As more wildlife gets used to the Eco-Link@BKE, other animals like the pangolin, flying squirrel, palm civet and porcupine are expected to use the bridge as well.

Animal crossings will also benefit rare native plants. For example, the Singapore Walking Stick Palm (Rhapaloblaste singaporensis) is pollinated and dispersed by animals. With the Eco-Link@BKE, an exchange of the palm's genetic materials can be expected between the two nature reserves. This will reduce the occurrence of inbreeding, and increase its chances of survival.

Public access to the Eco-Link@BKE will be restricted during the initial years to reduce human disturbance. NParls is working closely with nature groups to organise guided walks where feasible in the future.

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