SINGAPORE - A 5km partly undersea 10-lane road linking the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE), Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) and East Coast Parkway (ECP) will open on Dec29, freeing up land that will form a new Central Business District (CBD).
Costing $4.3 billion and taking four years to build, the subterranean Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) is touted as Singapore's 10th expressway, although it is more like an extension of the KPE.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said the MCE will provide direct access to the Marina downtown, as well as offer speedy east-west commutes - taking over a role of the ECP.
The southern part of the ECP will be downgraded to an arterial road serving the Marina area.
A 1km section leading from Marina Boulevard to Prince Edward Road will be removed to free up a 70ha land parcel.
LTA deputy chief executive Chua Chong Kheng said: "Without an expressway going through the area, we get a neat and size-able plot for development.
"Today, the ECP cuts the area into two."
Without the ECP dividing it, the new CBD also joins the old business district seamlessly.
The new downtown will boast a densely built-up precinct that is well connected by the MRT.
It is also envisioned to be a pedestrian and cyclist-friendly area, flanked by Gardens by the Bay, Marina Barrage and an international cruise centre.
"It will be a quality live-work-play precinct," Mr Chua said.
A number of road changes will be made to serve this area.
The downgraded section of the ECP - west of Sheares Bridge - will be renamed Sheares Avenue.
By the third quarter next year, Marina Boulevard and Central Boulevard, the two main roads in Marina South, will be straightened and expanded to form high- capacity roads leading to and from Shenton Way.
There will also be direct access to Maxwell Road from the area.