Tampines Expressway (TPE)
by Thulaja, Naidu Ratnala
Tampines Expressway (TPE) runs from the junction of Seletar Expressway (SLE) and Central Expressway (CTE) at Yio Chu Kang in the north to the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) at Changi in the east. Built at a cost of S$120 million, construction of the 14.4 km expressway was completed in 1996.1 It is an important link between the new towns of Pasir Ris, Tampines, Punggol and Seletar.2
The project to link the north and east of Singapore with an expressway came about with the construction of the first HDB housing project in Tampines in 1979. Until then Tampines had been a predominantly barren, sparsely-populated rural wasteland, with an occasional fruit plantation and a squatter settlement. The establishment of the Tampines New Town changed the landscape there.3 Concurrent to the development of housing and industrial estates, the government embarked on a 20-year expressway masterplan in the 1980s. The construction of the Tampines Expressway (TPE), which took place in three phases, commenced in the 1980s.4
In the first phase, a 4 km road between PIE to Elias Road was laid. The dual three-lane expressway was opened for use in 1987.5 In the second phase the road between Elias Road and Lorong Halus, in the north of Paya Lebar, was laid and opened in June 1989.6 This stretch of the expressway, from PIE to Lorong Halus, gave easy access to Changi Airport for motorists from Hougang, Serangoon and Tampines.7 The third and final phase in the construction of the TPE involved the laying of a 9 km road to connect the expressway from Lorong Halus to the Seletar Expressway (SLE) at its junction with Central Expressway (CTE). This entailed the construction of four major road links, two vehicular bridges over Sungei Serangoon and Sungei Punggol. Torie Construction, a local company, bagged the contract for the construction of the road link between TPE and SLE in 1993 for $25.45 million.8 In addition, the Punggol Flyover, which links the TPE to Punggol Road, was also constructed at a cost of S$13.2 million.9 Work in 1992 and six contracts were awarded for this phase. Most of the construction of the third phase was completed by 1995 but it was not opened to motorists until August 1996 when a S$39 million interchange was completed at Lorong Halus. This interchange was built over the site of a dumping ground, the Lorong Halus landfill.10
In 1998, two new viaducts and a loop connecting TPE and PIE were constructed at a cost of S$29.23 million to shorten the distance for motorists travelling from Pasir Ris and Tampines to Changi Airport. This new connection was inaugurated on 21 August 1998 by Parliament Secretary (Communications) Yaacob Ibrahim.11 Towards the end of 1998, construction of a S$800,000 overhead bridge across TPE began. This bridge was to link the residents of Pasir Ris South with the rest of Pasir Ris, which were on opposite sides of the expressway. Construction of the overhead bridge, which extends from Pasir Ris Loyang Neighbourhood 1 to the Pasir Ris Neighbourhood 4 was completed in 1999.12 In 2002, construction of the new Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway, which links the ECP to TPE, commenced. Costing S$1.8 billion and opened in 2008, the 12 km expressway is the longest underground expressway in Southeast Asia.13
The TPE begins at the junction of the CTE at Yio Chu Kang. It joins Jalan Kayu at Jalan Kayu Flyover (Exit 12), Seletar Link at Seletar Link interchange (Exit 11), Punggol Way at Punggol West flyover (Exit 10), Punggol Road at Punggol flyover (Exit 9), Lorong Halus (Exit 7), Pasir Ris Drive 12 at Api Api flyover (Exit 5), Elias Road (Exit 4), Pasir Ris Drive 8 at Pasir Ris flyover (Exit 3C), Loyang Ave at Loyang flyover (Exit 2), Upper Changi Road and the PIE at Upper Changi Flyover (Exit 1).14
The stretch of the expressway between SLE and Lorong Halus is a scenic drive with lush trees, picturesque views of mangrove swamps and beautiful farmland on its either side.15
Naidu Ratnala Thulaja
1. Final phase of TPE to open next month. (1996, July 8). The Straits Times, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Local firm wins tender to build TPE-Seletar link. (1993, April 13). The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Transformation of Tampines from rural wasteland to world model. (1992, October 2). The Straits Times, p. 31. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Expressways pass halfway mark. (1986, October 23). The Straits Times, p. 12; Republic completes more than half of expressway network. (1986, August 19). The Business Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Local firm wins tender to build TPE-Seletar link. (1993, April 13). The Business Times, p. 2; Part of Tampines Expressway opens. (1987, September 30) The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Tampines expressway. (1989, May 30). The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Dhaliwal, R. (1990, February 8). Smoother ride to Changi on TPE. The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Local firm wins tender to build TPE-Seletar link. (1993, April 13). The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. $13 m Tampines Expressway flyover being built. (1992, August 30). The Straits Times, p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Leong, C. T. (1996, January 9). Expressway laid out a year ago, but still closed. The Straits Times, p. 24. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Faster ride with new road interchange. (1998, August 22).The Straits Times, p. 36. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Safer link across TPE next year. (1998, December 20). The Straits Times, p. 23. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. EXPERTS DECLARE KPE SAFE TO BE OPENED. (2008, September 18). Today, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Singapore Street Directory. (n.d.). Tampines Expressway. Retrieved on 2016, May 18 from Singapore Street Directory website: http://www.streetdirectory.com/sg/tampines-expressway-tpe/50390_1.html
15. The TPE runs through it. (1996, September 6). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
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.