New Jubilee Bridge part of this year's TNP Big Walk

The Jubilee Bridge is a graceful pedestrian bridge connecting Merlion Park to the waterfront promenade in front of Esplanade.
Urban Redevelopment Authority

When you take part in the special SG50 Jubilee Big Walk this year, you'll get to cross a special bridge.

It is called the Jubilee Bridge, one of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's last legacies.

Singapore's founding prime minister had observed during a site visit in 2004 that pedestrians had to negotiate steps up the narrow walkways along the Esplanade Bridge.

"Ask our engineers to think of a way to link up the two sides of the river at a lower and more pedestrian-friendly level," he told planners at the time.

Today, the spacious 220m Jubilee Bridge lies parallel to the Esplanade Bridge and is about three times the width.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) had an unusual construction plan for the bridge to minimise disruption to the busy CBD area - by building it over the water.

But things worked out beautifully.

The bridge opened ahead of schedule on March 29 - the day of the State Funeral procession for Mr Lee - to accommodate onlookers.

Mr Bernard Chan, URA's senior architect, said: "The bridge offers a panoramic view of the beautiful city skyline, with a gentle curving gradient to provide a barrier-free, pleasant walking experience for everyone."

The Jubilee Bridge is just one of the significant historical sites along the Big Walk's special commemorative trail this year.

The route takes walkers through 25 historic locations within the Civic District and the Marina Bay area, including Fort Canning Park, which was once the site of 14th century palaces belonging to Malay King.

It also served as the Headquarters of the Far East Command Centre and British Army Barracks.

The decision to surrender Singapore to the Japanese on Feb 15, 1942 was also made on the hill, in the Underground Far East Command Centre. Participants will also visit The Padang, where the first National Day Parade was held.

First-time Big Walk participant Irene Tan, 54, has never seen the Jubilee Bridge before.

"I'm looking forward to viewing the Jubilee Bridge because it's new and it was Mr Lee Kuan Yew's idea," she said.

Another first-time participant, Mr Ng Chee Heong, 45, will be taking part with his whole family, including his SG50 newborn.

"I'm so happy to go for the Big Walk because my baby was born this year and the Jubilee Bridge is to commemorate SG50," he said.

CONSTRUCTION

The bridge features a barrier-free design, incorporates programmable energy-saving LED lighting and uses green materials and construction methods to reduce around 23 per cent of carbon footprint.

It weighs 3,000 tonnes, which is about the weight of 400 adult elephants, and can hold 2,000 people.

EVENT INFO

WHAT: The SG50 Jubilee Big Walk 2015 is jointly presented by People's Association and The New Paper.
WHEN: Nov 29, 7am
WHERE: Starts at the National Museum of Singapore and ends at Gardens by the Bay.
PRICE: Groups with 50 people or more enjoy a lower registration fee of $20 a person.

For PAssion card members, the registration fee is $25, while non-members have to pay $28.

REGISTRATION:

Register online at www.jubileebigwalk.sg

GOODIE BAG:

Sign up and get a goodie bag worth $880.

The goodies include an exclusive limited-edition commemorative medallion and Denizen T-shirt, beauty treat from Radiance Swiss, wellness treat from Spa Infinity, a 10-day pass to True Fitness and a three-month digital subscription for The New Paper and SPH Magazines.


This article was first published on October 26, 2015.
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