Smooth Traffic on the MCE and Adjoining Roads Except on the First Working Day After MCE Opened

News Releases 15 Jan 2014 Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE)

        Since the opening of the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) on 29 December 2013, motorists have experienced generally smooth traffic conditions along the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) as well as the adjoining road network, with the exception of the morning of 30 December 2013. Motorists using the East Coast Parkway (ECP) and Sheares Avenue have experienced similar traffic conditions.

2.     Based on traffic monitoring of the road network over the past two weeks, peak hour traffic volumes on the MCE and ECP are at the levels on the ECP prior to the opening of the MCE1.This means that traffic originally using the ECP to travel between the east and the west as well as to the CBD are now using the MCE and the new road connections, as well as the existing ECP and Sheares Avenue.  The current smooth traffic conditions are not the result of motorists still avoiding the MCE and adjoining roads.

3.     The traffic volumes on the MCE and ECP are currently below their design capacity.


Congestion in the Morning of 30 December 2013

4.     Based on LTA’s review of the traffic situation that morning, the congestion was due to several factors, which include motorists’ lack of familiarity with the new road network, which had changed significantly overnight, and a chokepoint along Central Boulevard. For example: 

  1. Some motorists from the ECP going towards the AYE in the morning did not turn into the MCE(AYE) near Fort Road, but instead continued to use the ECP and Sheares Avenue, turning left to Marina Boulevard and then to MCE(AYE). This contributed to congestion along Marina Boulevard.

  2. Other motorists were unsure which exits in the MCE tunnel to use. Most motorists entered the CBD at Exit 3 via Central Boulevard whereas there is a later exit at Exit 1 heading to Maxwell Road. As a result, the traffic on Central Boulevard was heavier than expected.
     
  3. Motorists unfamiliar with the new interim road network in the Marina South area also added to the congestion. This area is still largely under development and it is not so easy for motorists to find their bearings. The extraneous traffic increased the traffic volume on Marina Station Road significantly, which spilled over to Central Boulevard towards Raffles Quay and Shenton Way.


5.     To address the congestion, LTA took several immediate measures from the afternoon of 30 December. These included adding and enhancing on-site signage, converting a short stretch of Central Boulevard, which was observed to be a traffic bottleneck, from two lanes to four lanes, fine-tuning traffic signal timings, deploying additional traffic marshals as well as stepping up publicity and issuing more traffic advisories to guide motorists. These measures, together with an increasing familiarity with the MCE and its adjoining road network, contributed to the improved traffic conditions thereafter.

6.     LTA acknowledges that more could have been done in terms of signage, which could have minimised the congestion in the morning of 30 December – the first working day after the MCE was opened.


Misperceptions over the Design of the MCE

7.     Some motorists and commentators have suggested possible design deficiencies in the MCE. LTA assures the public that this is not the case. As with all major road projects, comprehensive planning and traffic studies were conducted before the MCE was designed and constructed. LTA also engaged external consultants to validate the findings from these studies. The final design was adopted only after going through a rigorous planning and design process to ensure that the MCE can cater to both short-term and long-term traffic, environmental concerns and land use needs. Please refer to Annex A for a list of common questions and concerns raised, and LTA’s responses.

8.     Moving ahead, LTA will draw on the lessons learned from the 30 December 2013 traffic congestion for future road openings. LTA will be more mindful that even as motorists are informed of the changes beforehand, they may still be uncertain when driving on the new road network for the first time, and will do more to cater to this.

9.     LTA would like to thank all motorists for their feedback, patience and understanding, and for adapting quickly to the new road network.


[1] This was measured in October 2013 before the start of the December school holidays.

 

 

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