SINGAPORE : The government will spend S$14 billion to improve Singapore's road infrastructure over the coming years.
The money will go towards building the new North-South Expressway, the earlier announced Marina Coastal Expressway, widening the Central and Tampines Expressways, and improving various interchanges.
The Transport Ministry is optimistic the changes will soften the traffic gridlock.
The go-ahead has been given for the new North-South Expressway, which will cost some S$7 billion to S$8 billion and be ready by 2020.
The 21-kilometre expressway will link Woodlands and Yishun in the north to the East Coast Parkway.
It will run somewhat parallel to the Central Expressway, thereby relieving traffic from the heavily-used CTE.
The S$2.5 billion Marina Coastal Expressway, linking the eastern and western parts to Marina Bay, will be ready by 2013.
Then there is the widening of the Central and Tampines Expressways, which will be completed by 2011.
When completed, the CTE will have four lanes on either side.
The Ministry is confident these changes will make road travel more efficient.
But Singaporeans are mixed in their views.
One person said, "I'm actually looking forward to all the new highways, because just by coming out of the new KPE, it's improving traffic a lot. I've used it, and I'm very happy with it."
Another noted, "There will always be people wanting to buy cars. So long as the government allows that, I think this thing (congestion) will still keep on continuing."
A third added, "The government wants to have 6 million people. There's no way it can stop."
Others offered alternatives which they think will work.
One person suggested, "They have to make more roads underground."
Another commented, "If you can get from Point A to Point B very conveniently on public transport, then I think I wouldn't be driving a car."
A third added, "Staggering working hours is a good idea."
Whatever the view, it will take some time for the initiatives to settle in, and the authorities are hoping more people will switch to public transport to ensure Singapore does not end up in a gridlock. - CNA/ms