East Coast Parkway

by Thulaja, Naidu Ratnala

The East Coast Parkway (ECP) is a 19-kilometre expressway built on reclaimed land along the southeastern coast of Singapore. Completed in 1981, it connects the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) at Shenton Way in the Central Business District to Singapore Changi Airport in the east.1

In 1971, the government embarked on the construction of an extensive network of highways following the release of the first concept plan. According to the 1971 Concept Plan, new high-density satellite towns were to be built around the central water catchment area, and each of the towns was to be linked via a system of islandwide expressways. Construction of roads in accordance with the Concept Plan began in the early 1970s.2 By 1989, five expressways had been completed, with the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) being the first. The five expressways were the initial 35-kilometre stretch of the PIE; the ECP; the 11-kilometre Bukit Timah Expressway; the 14-kilometre AYE; and the 16-kilometre Central Expressway.3 The eight-lane ECP was completed in 1981 by the Public Works Department on reclaimed land.4

The so East Coast land reclamation project was completed in 1985 after 22 years of reclamation work. Around 1,525 ha of land was reclaimed for recreational and housing purposes at a cost of S$613 million. The Marine Parade housing estate was built on this reclaimed land in the late 1960s and completed in the mid-’70s, along with the Marine Parade Town Centre.5

The ECP was built in four phases, with a large part of it ready when Changi Airport opened in 1981.6 Phases 1 and 2 comprised reclamation from Fort Road to Nallur Road. Phase 3 saw the completion of a seven-km road from Nallur Road to Changi Road, while Phase 4 was a scenic 5.4-kilometre expressway from Tanjong Rhu to Keppel Road. This final phase began in 1977 and was completed in 1981.7 Built on reclaimed land, the ECP includes an approximately 1.8-kilometre-long viaduct – the Benjamin Sheares Bridge, named in memory of Singapore’s late president.8 Spanning the entrances of Kallang Basin and Marina Bay, this bridge was the longest elevated viaduct in Singapore at the time.9

The Marine Parade and Tanjong Rhu flyovers were opened in 1984.10 The construction of the Tanjong Rhu Flyover, where the ECP forms a junction with Fort Road, began in 1988 and was completed in 1990 at a cost of almost S$19 million.11 This six-lane carriageway flyover was officially opened on the 24 February 1990 by S. Dhanabalan, then minister for national development.12

Starting at the Benjamin Sheares Bridge, where footpaths were built to allow pedestrians to enjoy the panoramic view of the city and harbour at 29 m above sea level,13 the ECP continues on the Tanjong Rhu Flyover, heading eastward.14

It is from the Tanjong Rhu area that the ECP runs alongside the East Coast Park, a 185-hectare park stretching over a length of 15 km. The park includes a 7.5-kilometre beach, and offers barbecue pits, cycling and jogging tracks, fishing spots, bicycle and skate rental kiosks, food and beverage outlets, a watersport centre, tennis courts, bowling alleys, chalets and camp sites.15

The construction of the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) began in 2009 and was completed in 2013.16 The city-bound ECP at the Fort Road exit was realigned to connect to the MCE, which provides access to the Marina Bay area.17 The stretch of the ECP west of Benjamin Sheares Bridge was converted into a major arterial road known as Sheares Avenue that leads into the Central Business District and which connects the Central Boulevard and Marina Boulevard. The stretch of ECP after the Central Boulevard was expunged, thus freeing up land in Marina South for new developments.18


Naidu Ratnala Thulaja

1. Twenty-minute drive into the city. (1981, June 16). The Straits Times, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Speeding along into the future by road or rail. (1970, March 24). The Straits Times, p. 10; Ngoo, I., & Kang, J. (1984, August 27). Concrete web that spans the island, The Straits Times, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. LePoer, B. L. (Ed.). (1991). Singapore: A country study. Washington, DC: US GPO, p. 167. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SIN)
4. Cheong, C. (1992). Framework and foundation: A history of the Public Works Department. Singapore: Times Editions, pp. 39–40. (Call no.: RSING 354.5957008609)
5. Teo, G. (1993, October 23). How Singapore has grown. The Straits Times, p. 19; The great land reclamation at East Coast. (1983, November 21). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Twenty-minute drive into the city. (1981, June 16). The Straits Times, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Scenic highway contract goes to Japanese firm. (1976, September 9). The Straits Times, p. 17; Pointers give drivers a pleasant trip. (1981, April 18). The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Last part of East Coast Parkway to open. (1981, September 25) The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. New expressway will serve long-term needs. (1981, April 18). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Expressway ramps open (1984, October 21). The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Tanjong Rhu-ECP flyover opens (1990, February 25). The Straits Times, p. 17; Joint venture wins flyover interchange contract. (1988, May 26). The Business Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Tanjong Rhu-ECP flyover opens. (1990, February 25). The Straits Times, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Teo, L. F. (1980, January 31). Panoramic footpaths. New Nation, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Singapore Land Authority. (n.d.). OneMap. Retrieved 2016, July 29 from OneMap website: https://www.onemap.sg/index.html
15. National Parks Board. (2016, June 28). East Coast Park. Retrieved 2016, July 29 from National Parks Board website: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/gardens-parks-and-nature/parks-and-nature-reserves/east-coast-park
16. Almenoar, M. (2009, April 29). A road runs under the sea. The Straits Times, p. 4; Almenoar, M. (2009, April 29).  Work begins on Marina expressway. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Smooth-flowing traffic as Marina Coastal Expressway opens. (2013, December 29) Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
17. Lee J. X., & Chow, J. (2013, November 15). Motorists cheer prospect of faster ride on new expressway. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Fadzil Hamzal & Gulapa, C. (2013, December 23). A higway under the sea. The New Paper. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/

The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.


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