More than five years in the making, Singapore's first road-rail viaduct will open on Feb 18.
The Tuas Viaduct stretches 4.8km from Tuas Road to Tuas West Road, with a 2.4km stretch of the upcoming Tuas West MRT extension running 9m above it.
It has been built in anticipation of the heavier traffic that will come with developments in the west of the island - the highlight of which is the Tuas Port.
The viaduct runs 14m above Pioneer Road, which is already often congested with heavy vehicles.
It is currently configured as a dual two-lane road. But an expanded road shoulder can be converted to a third lane in each direction to support "longer-term developments within the Tuas area", said the Land Transport Authority (LTA), which announced the viaduct's opening date yesterday.
Tuas Port is expected to complete the first phase of its construction in 2020 and handle all of Singapore's port activities from 2027.
Construction on the viaduct began in 2012, with a combined budget of $3.5 billion for both the road viaduct and the rail extension, which includes the Tuas Crescent and Tuas West Road stations.
To handle the additional weight of both the road and rail line, the viaduct sits on 94 columns, each of which can support 13,000 tonnes.
This is more than six times the load of a column for the freestanding part of the Tuas West extension rail viaduct, which can carry 2,100 tonnes.
Mr Andrew Yap, Tuas West extension project director at LTA, said that integrating the road and rail components not just optimises land use along Pioneer Road, but also reduces the building cost. The 7.5km MRT extension is scheduled to open in the second quarter of this year.
To avoid confusing motorists when the viaduct opens next month, new directional signs will be put up. Marshals will also help direct traffic for the first few days after it opens.
Mr Allan Lim, the chief executive of a biodiesel company in Tuas South, hopes that the viaduct will help alleviate congestion, describing the traffic on Pioneer Road as "bad", particularly during peak hours.
Added the 43-year-old: "The congestion is caused by heavy commercial vehicles, which don't always keep to the left lane, and slow down smaller vehicles."