New U-turn before Newton Circus added to ease traffic at roundabout

The new U-turn allows drivers to turn into Woodlands-bound Bukit Timah Road without having to use the congested roundabout.
The new U-turn allows drivers to turn into Woodlands-bound Bukit Timah Road without having to use the congested roundabout.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

SINGAPORE - A new U-turn in Dunearn Road near Newton Circus was opened on Sunday (Sept 12), allowing drivers to turn into Woodlands-bound Bukit Timah Road without having to use the congested roundabout.

With this, all the enhancement works at Newton Circus, which began in 2017, have been completed.

Another U-turn, on the other side of Newton Circus, which allows motorists to turn from Woodlands-bound Bukit Timah Road towards the city, was opened in 2019.

The authorities hope these will reduce the number of vehicles using the roundabout, which recorded an average of nine accidents a year between 2016 and 2018.

Thousands of people should benefit from the completion of the project, which had been slightly delayed by Covid-19. The junction links many residential areas, including those along Balmoral Road, Goldhill Avenue, Stevens Road and Chancery Lane, and is close to a number of kindergartens and secondary schools. 

Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Alvin Tan, who is the MP representing the area, said the new U-turn will help motorists and residents better navigate Newton Circus, which “can be a bit of a mess”.

Parents dropping off their children in the schools nearby – such as Singapore Chinese Girls’ School and ACS (Barker Road) – will hopefully also find peak-hour traffic less daunting, he said.

“The new U-turn should alleviate traffic even more than the previous U-turn opened in 2019,” he said. “In the past year, I had to placate some residents who were unhappy about the delay. I hope they know their feedback has been heard.”

He also thanked the Land Transport Authority (LTA)  and migrant workers for finishing the project in a Facebook post. 

Over the years, the LTA made various changes to Newton Circus.

It added a new pedestrian crossing between Newton Road and Dunearn Road, completed in July, to allow easier access to Newton MRT Station.

A bus stop in Bukit Timah Road was reconstructed so buses are able to stop within the bus bay without encroaching into the neighbouring lane.

Newton Circus was widened in June to give more space for vehicles, especially public buses, which found it difficult to manoeuvre the turn.

Traffic lights were added in June at the roundabout junction of Bukit Timah Road and Clemenceau Avenue North.

Civil servant Wesley Cheong, 42, who used to drive his child to a primary school near Newton Circus on a daily basis, said he almost got into an accident several times prior to the changes. 

“Motorists entering the circus from Clemenceau Avenue North often criss-cross lanes. With the improvements, the lane markings are very clear, so motorists will know which lane is for entering the circus and which is for turning left into Scotts Road,” he said. 

Mr Cheong added that journeys could be cut by as much as 10 minutes if motorists use the new roads smartly. 

Retired consultant Amy Lau, who has lived in Newton for more than 20 years, said she is relieved the road works have been completed. 

“It was so bad in the past and the jams were impossible. Drivers got into their lanes too late and often edged into other lanes without caring if they were blocking traffic,” added Ms Lau, who is in her 60s. 

“It has been a few years of uncertainty. The construction meant there were many road blocks and sometimes the direction of traffic was different in the morning and the evening.”

She said the pedestrian crossings will give parents peace of mind when taking their kids to kindergarten in the morning. 

On Sunday, the LTA also gave updates of enhancement works at the Balmoral Road junction, which had been under way before the Covid-19 pandemic as well.

Two U-turns were added there too, and both opened in June. One, in front of ACS (Primary), allows motorists to turn from Dunearn Road into Bukit Timah Road without going all the way to the Newton roundabout. The second, in front of Balmoral Plaza, allows those on Bukit Timah Road to turn into Dunearn Road.

A new slip road from Chancery Lane to Dunearn Road was added in March to allow vehicles to filter out quickly, while Bukit Timah Road in front of Balmoral Plaza was increased from three lanes to four.

A left turning lane was added on the same road to help motorists going to Balmoral Road to filter left faster.

A bus stop in front of Balmoral Plaza was relocated away from the main road to make it more convenient for commuters.

Two more projects, a sheltered walkway along Bukit Timah Road and Dunearn Road, as well as a drop-off shelter in front of Goodwood Residence, are under construction.