SINGAPORE - A wide, forested bridge stretching across Mandai Lake Road forms a nearly seamless safe passage for wildlife between the wooded areas on both sides of the road.
Launched on Friday (Dec 6) after 2½ years of construction, the Mandai Wildlife Bridge "stitches together the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) and provides a safe passage for our local wildlife", said Mr Mike Barclay, group chief executive of Mandai Park Holdings (MPH).
For the first time in 60 years since Mandai Lake Road was built, cutting the forest environment in two, critters such as pangolins, colugos and lesser mousedeer trying to get from one side to the other side no longer need to do so at their peril.
The 140m-long bridge is aimed at reducing the number of roadkill incidents in the Mandai Precinct, which MPH is developing into an integrated nature and wildlife destination.
Mr Barclay said the animal-only bridge was the organisation's "first stride towards rejuvenating Mandai into an integrated nature and wildlife precinct." MPH declined to disclose the cost of the bridge.
By 2023, the area, which sits at the edge of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, will see two additions - the new Rainforest Park and the relocated Bird Park - to the existing list of parks, which include the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari.
The number of roadkill incidents in the area has drawn fire from local nature groups.
The Straits Times understands that five colugos were previously found dead along the road since works started in 2017. Other animals including the critically endangered Sunda pangolin have also been killed on the road.
Previously, rope bridges were also installed to help tree-dwelling species like the colungo get across the road, and signs have been put up to remind motorists to slow down in the area.
Trees of different heights have been planted to create a forest-like environment on the Mandai Wildlife Bridge. Mr Barclay thanked the nature groups that had lent a hand for the last leg of the project, and noted that they had also provided guidance on the design of the bridge.
The tree canopy on the Mandai Wildlife Bridge will take between five and 10 years to be fully established.
Following the completion of the Mandai Wildlife Bridge, the Mandai precinct habitats will be further restored, guided by the Mandai Ecological Reforestation Plan, which sets out a 10-year road map for restoring the protected areas adjacent to the CCNR. These areas take up about 19 per cent of the land allocated for development.
These efforts include creating a variety of microhabitats, as well as achieving functional connectivity for animals, said MPH in a statement.
A total of 9ha - about 17 football fields - is expected to be restored by 2030, it added.