Road in Lentor remains closed months after completion, no opening date set

The road has remained closed for nearly a year after its completion early last year. ST PHOTO: THADDEUS ANG

SINGAPORE - A 300m stretch of road that was meant to give residents of a private estate easier access to Lentor MRT station remains closed, nearly a year after its completion early last year.

The extension of Munshi Abdullah Avenue, which runs through the quiet Teacher's Estate, cuts driving time for some residents to the new MRT station by about five minutes by connecting motorists to Lentor Gardens, another new road that opened last June.

But bollards were put up to close it off upon its completion. As a result, Lentor Gardens has also become a dead-end U-turn, unable to serve its intended function.

Mr Henry Kwek, the MP for the area, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) had proposed that the extension be closed due to nearby construction works last year, so that heavy vehicles could not pass through.

"This was to minimise safety risks. I would think that now it makes sense for the road to be opened," he told The Straits Times.

But whether the extension will be opened to vehicular traffic remains unclear, with continued resistance from some residents living nearby due to concerns over safety and noise.

About 500 households live in the estate, and some 300 of them were asked to complete a survey by the Thomson Neighbourhood Committee late last year with just one question: "Do you want Munshi Abdullah Avenue (extension) to be open?"

In response to queries, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) told ST that residents' views - including the survey results - will be taken into account before a decision is made on whether to open the road.

It did not commit to whether the road would open or if so, when it would.

The URA did not disclose the cost of building both Lentor Gardens and the Munshi Abdullah Avenue extension.

A resident who lives near the extension and only wanted to be known as Mr Yau said: "We like our privacy. The road will lead to more traffic in the area. It will be noisy. It will be more dangerous for our children to walk home and, honestly, does not cut the journey short by that much.

"We don't need it but I know some people want the convenience," added Mr Yau, who voted against the road opening.

Mr Kwek, the Kebun Baru MP, said that based on the survey results, which he has seen, a majority of residents want the road open as it will improve the area's connectivity.

Asked why a survey was conducted after the roads were built, despite some 15 consultation sessions that were held with residents before the projects began, Mr Kwek said it was "not unusual" as the authorities are constantly seeking feedback from residents.

Teacher's Estate, near the junction of Yio Chu Kang Road and Upper Thomson Road, was developed in the 1960s to give teachers opportunities to buy landed housing within their income brackets.

It is situated amid lush greenery and shielded from public footfall. Those passing through are almost always residents, and it is unclear whether the opening of the extension would lead to an influx of non-resident drivers taking the shortcut.

But Mr David Lim, 62, a resident in nearby Munshi Abdullah Walk who also voted against the road opening in the survey, said he often sees drivers who do not live in the area test out their cars in the vicinity.

The leadership trainer acknowledged that the road would eventually have to be opened now that it has been built, but said residents continue to worry.

"Even now, a lot of non-residential cars speed in the area. There are many blind corners and police checks are infrequent," he said.

"It will be about how traffic is controlled when the road is opened. I suggest the authorities change the humps in the area to strips, so that cars cannot just drive over. This will force people to slow down."

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