Traffic slowed to a crawl along major roads leading to Paterson Road yesterday after an oil spill led to jams that stretched as far as Novena.
The southbound side of Paterson Road was closed for 13 hours, from around 4am to 5pm yesterday, to clean up the spillage and carry out resurfacing works.
This caused delays of 15 to 40 minutes, frustrating bus commuters and motorists on their way to work.
Sales executive Cherlyn Lim, 31, who takes bus service 700 from Newton MRT station to Far East Plaza, said: "It usually takes five minutes to get to my workplace. But because of the jam, it took me an extra 25 minutes to get to work."
Traffic signs along the Pan-Island and Central expressways advised motorists to use alternative routes.
A taxi driver, who declined to be named, said messages were sent via mobile data terminals to discourage cabbies from using roads leading to the affected stretch.
Other motorists, such as Mr Lim Wei Li, 26, used alternative routes when they drove to the area.
Mr Lim, an undergraduate at the Singapore Management University, usually takes the Orchard Road exit on the Central Expressway to get to school.
"But I decided to play it safe and take a longer route - going by Bukit Timah Road past Sim Lim Square," he said, adding that despite his efforts, he was still 10 minutes late for his class at noon.
Orchard Road Business Association executive director Steven Goh said: "It is very unfortunate to have an accident like this happening on a busy stretch near Orchard Road.
"But we are glad the authorities took efforts to clean up the area so the inconvenience to shoppers was kept to a minimum."
But some complained about the inconvenience nonetheless.
Digital designer Samantha Branson, 24, usually takes a five- minute bus ride from her office in Scotts Road to Lucky Plaza, where she has lunch with her colleagues.
Yesterday, she had to take a 15-minute walk there instead.
She said: "The jam was so bad that it was faster to walk because the traffic was crawling."
When The Straits Times visited Paterson Road at about 5pm, workers were seen removing the cones placed along the affected stretch outside Ion Orchard.
Some commuters, however, felt that the delays were unavoidable.
Mr Shahrul Ariffin, 41, who takes bus service 190 from Choa Chu Kang to Orchard Road, noticed that his journey time yesterday was extended by 15 minutes.
The Alfresco Gusto bar manager said: "It took a little more time to get to work, but it wasn't that serious. It could have been worse."