Marina Coastal Expressway – Is there a better alternative?

Costing more than $4.1 billion dollars to build was the newest and probably one of the Most Costly Expressway in Singapore, the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE). At a span of 5km, each km would cost an average of $800 million to build.

Marina Coastal Expressway meme (sGAG)

I were already having doubts the first day I pass through the expressway, seeing only two lanes at the exit, filtering to East Coast Parkway (ECP) while move eastwards, the more well used expressway towards the east of MCE. Sure enough, on the next working day, massive jams crowded the entire expressway, with outcries about the terrible design of the expressway over the local forums such as this and inspiring blog posts like that.

What surprises me even more is that many people thought that MCE is just another expressway that runs parallel to ECP. I thought the government had made it pretty clear that MCE was to replace a stretched of ECP, freeing up prime land to extend the downtown downwards.

There’s many more inconvenience of course, such as a direct route into the Rochor area was lost when moving eastwards through MCE, the Fort Road exit no longer runs into ECP and sharp near-90 degree turns entering the expressway.

I always like to joke that they ought to have employed me as a part time traffic planner as I have 12 years of experience playing Sim City.

Jokes aside, is there a better alternative? I’m thinking. MCE is already at 66% the price tag of the world’s most expensive building (Marina Bay Sands tada!). Surely we could use the same amount of money and do something else?

  • Can we build a building across East Coast Parkway?
  • Can we extend Gardens by the Bay onto the top of East Coast Parkway like the EcoLink we have over the Bukit Timah Expressway?
  • Can we build a second tier of highway on top of East Coast Parkway to soothe the highway traffic?

I am no civil engineer. But with a bit of creativity, I’m sure all these are possible in Singapore. I’ll leave you with a few architectural wonderful pictures I found from the Internet on what is already possible.

Gate Tower Building in Osaka (muza-chan.net)

Gate Tower Building in Osaka with a highway passing through it. The two structures were built separately. Picture from muza-chan.net 

Elephant Tower of Thailand (fineartamerica.com)

Elephant Tower of Thailand showed that you could build something with a big gap underneath the building, perhaps one wide enough for ECP to go under. (Picture from fineartamerica.com)

High Five Interchange (Wikipedia)

High Five Interchange somewhere in the US. Interchanges takes up a lot of space but how about viaducts? Shall we have our first multilevel expressway? (Picture from Wikipedia)