What it took to build Jubilee Bridge

TO MINIMISE the impact on traffic, the new Jubilee Bridge was built from the river instead of the shore.

But building amid water presented serious challenges. Materials had to be ferried by ship and ingenious construction methods were used.

Built by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the 220m-long pedestrian bridge links the Esplanade promenade to Merlion Park.

It will be launched officially in November, but was opened last month to accommodate crowds during the funeral of the country's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. That was "a quiet tribute" to the late Mr Lee, said the URA.

After all, the bridge was his brainchild. During a 2004 site visit to Marina Bay, he noticed that, to cross the river, pedestrians had to climb stairs up to the walkway 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.

The $19.7 million bridge has no steps, providing barrier-free access. It is part of the 3.5km Marina Bay waterfront loop.

Boasting a width of 6m - three times that of the the walkway at the Esplanade Bridge - it can serve as another viewing platform. It can also help with crowd dispersal during events such as the New Year's Eve fireworks display.

The bridge took a year to plan and 28 months to construct. Said URA executive civil and structural engineer Khong Zhi Cong: "Working on water has its own unique set of challenges."

Metal fences known as cofferdams were used so workers could reach the dry river bed.

To avoid the hassle of putting up scaffolding in the water, the bridge was built without such support. Segments were added, one by one, on alternating sides of a central pillar, so the whole structure was kept balanced.


This article was first published on April 17, 2015.
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