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MCE: Transport Minister Lui says first-day gridlock not caused by design

Published on Jan 6, 2014 11:45 AM
 
There were plenty of signs to guide motorists when approaching the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE). Transport  Minister Lui Tuck Yew says the verdict on the newly-opened Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) will be clearer in "two to three weeks", but does not think design issues were to blame for the first-day gridlock. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN 

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew says the verdict on the newly-opened Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) will be clearer in "two to three weeks", but does not think design issues were to blame for the first-day gridlock on Dec 30, 2013.

"I think if you open any major new road, where you have quite a number of changes and people have to familiarise themselves with these changes, it will take a bit of time to settle," he told reporters Monday morning.

"We will have to be patient, look at the situation over a period of weeks. But so far, LTA tells me, other than the first morning, it's been relatively smooth, perhaps for a variety of reasons.

"And I'd like to believe that some (motorists) have moved over to taking public transport, given the convenience of the Circle Line and Downtown Line in the (Marina) area."

Meanwhile, the Land Transport Authority "will continue to make improvements to the signs, and do the necessary tweaks, to bring about a smoother commute for motorists".

Mr Lui also said road improvements in the Marina South area - such as the straightening of Central Boulevard - will improve traffic flow.

"Because today, Central Boulevard is quite circuitous, the curves and the bends don't make it such a conducive driving experience," he said.

On a personal note, the minister said he prefers the MCE.

"If I were to compare the driving experience with using the Sheares Bridge, and having to make that climb up the Sheares Bridge, I think the MCE to me, even though it's a slightly longer route, is something that I prefer.

"I miss the view, like many other motorists... but as a commute, so far, I find the MCE a smoother one for myself."

But he added that "we'll have to look at the situation after two or three weeks and then we can get a better feel" of how the new $4.3 billion highway is performing.