SINGAPORE – A serious oil spill on the Bukit Timah Expressway caused a massive traffic jam on Friday, and affected nearly a dozen bus services at SMRT’s Woodlands bus interchange.
The spill occurred just after the Mandai Road exit towards Pan-Island Expressway (PIE). It was caused by a Malaysian registered tanker carrying palm oil, which leaked its cargo while travelling on the BKE.
In a tweet sent out at 6pm, SBS Transit said the affected lane on BKE has reopened, and that bus services 160, 161, 168, 170 and 170X have resumed normal services.
The Land Transport Authority, in a statement issued at 6.45pm on Friday, said workers have completed road resurfacing works along the stretch of BKE (towards PIE) after Mandai Road exit.
"One lane was re-opened at 3.15pm and both affected lanes at were re-opened at 6.35pm. The two lanes were earlier closed due to an oil spill caused by a traffic accident involving a palm oil tanker this morning,” the LTA said.
The tanker’s driver, Mr Nazib, 52, told The Straits Times he got into an accident with a car at about 3am this morning. His tanker was damaged by the collision and started leaking since then, he said.
The spillage left two lanes completely slick with oil and forced traffic to come to a standstill as clean-up work began.
As of 2.30pm, the two lanes were still closed for recovery works, said a Land Transport Authority (LTA) spokesman. He added that LTA will reopen the affected lanes when works to resurface the road are completed.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was alerted to the oil spill at around 6.07am. It deployed fire engines to the scene, and its officers used water jets and solvents to clear up the oil spill.
The road side drains were cordoned off with coirs and absorbent materials to soak up the oil.
A two-man team went below the highway to lay oil pads to absorb oil that had spilled into the drain. The oil in the drains had pooled and overflowed onto the grass.
Another team of workers are preparing to dig up the tarmac along the expressway and replace it with fresh tar.
Public transport operator SMRT said the spill caused a traffic jam tailing back to Woodlands Avenue 1, 2 and 3, which held up its bus services.
SMRT said the bus services affected are: 178, 187, 858, 911, 913, 925, 950, 960, 961, 963 and 966.
Mr Lim Peng Soon, 61, who works in the Tuas area, said he took about 1½ hours to get to work from his house in Woodlands, instead of the usual half an hour.
He usually takes the SLE-BKE route from Woodlands Avenue 2, but there was a jam before the expressway. He then drove to Woodlands Avenue 3 and Woodlands Centre to go up to BKE but there was also a massive jam at the areas.
He said: "I usually take the expressway to go to work but there was a jam even on the way to the expressway. I tried to take another route to go to BKE or KJE but there were still jams, so I avoided it altogether and just went by Lim Chu Kang.”https://twitter.com/P315h1/status/692892913085259776
In January last year, a stretch of Paterson Road near Orchard Road was closed for 13 hours after an oil spill, causing a massive tailback on roads feeding into the area. The five-lane stretch had to be resurfaced.
All five lanes on Paterson Road heading towards River Valley, between Orchard Road and Orchard Boulevard.