500,000 expected at Marina Bay on New Year’s Eve, 700 police officers to be deployed

Workers setting up police security camera outside Esplanade on Dec 26, 2022. The Police are expecting large crowds to join in the festivities around Marina Bay. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - About 500,000 revellers are expected to turn up at the Marina Bay area on Dec 31 to take part in New Year’s Eve festivities.

The police are expecting large crowds to turn up for the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2023 from about 6pm.

Superintendent Ho Li Fang, head of operations at Central Police Division, said the police will be leveraging technology to complement operations.

In particular, three types of Singapore Police Force (SPF) drones will be deployed and flown over the water.

The drones are equipped with thermal and visual sensors that allow officers to monitor crowd size, flow and density.

They also have speakers that can broadcast sirens and public safety messages, including instructions on what to do in an emergency.

The drones, which include a version that is water-resistant and can be deployed in wet weather conditions, are flown by specially trained police officers.

Along with the drones, specialised cameras will be deployed at popular crowd congregation areas.

The SPF’s Enhanced Mobicam is equipped with a blinker, speakers and electronic signage, enabling officers to broadcast both audio and visual messages to the public.

In addition, the number of people entering certain areas will be regulated by the police to prevent overcrowding.

They include The Promontory, One Fullerton, Merlion Park, Esplanade Park, Esplanade Waterfront Promenade and Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade.

Entry into these areas will be stopped once capacity has reached planned safety thresholds.

Certain entrances and exits at MRT stations around the Marina Bay area will also be closed, to regulate crowd flow, and trains may bypass affected stations to divert the crowd away.

City Hall, Raffles Place and Bayfront MRT stations are expected to be very crowded, and the public is advised to use other stations nearby such as Esplanade, Downtown and Marina Bay.

Revellers in the area are advised to make use of the Crowd@MarinaBay live map, which provides a view of real-time crowd levels and closures around Marina Bay.

It will include walking paths that are updated when areas are closed, and also has warning icons and advisories relating to closed areas.

The map, which is available at go.gov.sg/crowd-at-marina-bay, can be accessed from 6pm on Dec 31.

Countdowns in Marina Bay were muted for the past two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic, with fireworks cancelled to minimise crowds in the area and prevent the virus from spreading.

But the fireworks are returning this time, with a seven-minute display expected at the stroke of midnight to welcome the new year.

Restaurants offering views of the display are reporting brisk business, with many venues almost fully booked.

With revellers able to celebrate the countdown in person on Saturday after a two-year hiatus, the Urban Redevelopment Authority said it is expecting a crowd of up to 500,000, similar to numbers from before the pandemic.

Supt Ho said the police will be conducting enhanced patrols in anticipation of large crowds.

“A huge turnout is expected at the Marina Bay area, and the police have carefully calibrated the crowd management plans for the event,” she added.

“To prevent overcrowding, the police will be regulating crowd flow, effecting closures when crowd size has reached the safe capacity for the area. Diversions and congestions will be expected at the pedestrian and vehicles thoroughfares.”

Barricades, concrete blocks and enhanced police presence are among the security measures expected during the event.

Overcrowding has become a key concern during the festive period following the Itaewon Halloween crowd crush in October.

An estimated 100,000 revellers had squeezed into the popular nightlife area in Seoul, South Korea, that evening, causing a crush that left more than 150 dead.

The SPF had previously said the tragedy was a stark reminder that public safety cannot be taken for granted.

Busking curbs were implemented in Orchard Road in December, with extra precautions taken on Christmas Eve.

The police also actively stepped in to manage crowds during the Christmas period in the shopping district.

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Noting that revellers should remain vigilant during the celebrations, Supt Ho said: “We seek the understanding of the public to be patient and to follow the instructions of police officers and marshals.

“As we enjoy the festivities, we urge everyone to stay vigilant, stay united and stay strong in our fight against crime and terrorism.”

The following roads and lanes will be closed to vehicles to facilitate the event:

From 6pm to 11pm:

  • Extreme left lane of Raffles Avenue (between Temasek Avenue and Esplanade Drive)
  • Extreme left lane of Collyer Quay in the direction of Raffles Quay

From 6pm to 2am:

  • Bayfront Avenue (between Temasek Avenue and lamp post 34F)
  • Esplanade Drive in the direction of Fullerton Road (between Stamford Road and Collyer Quay)
  • Fullerton Road (between lamp post 18F and Esplanade Drive)

From 10pm to 2am:

  • Marina Boulevard (between Raffles Quay and Bayfront Avenue)

From 11pm to 2am:

  • Republic Boulevard in the direction of Raffles Avenue (between Raffles Boulevard and Raffles Avenue)
  • Slip road leading from Raffles Boulevard into Raffles Avenue
  • Raffles Avenue (between Raffles Boulevard and Temasek Avenue)
  • Temasek Avenue (between Raffles Boulevard and Raffles Avenue)
  • Nicoll Highway (between Raffles Boulevard and Raffles Avenue)
  • Esplanade Drive in the direction of Nicoll Highway (between Stamford Road and Collyer Quay)
  • Fullerton Road (between Esplanade Drive and Collyer Quay)
  • Collyer Quay (between Fullerton Road and Marina Boulevard)
  • Battery Road
  • Flint Street
  • Bonham Street
  • Fullerton Square
  • Extreme left lane of Finlayson Green (between Collyer Quay and Marina Boulevard)
  • Extreme left lane of Marina Way (between Marina Boulevard and Central Boulevard)

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