New U-turn to cut Newton Circus traffic

In the past, the Land Transport Authority had also considered building an underpass and flyover to improve flow at Newton Circus, which is often a bottleneck between major roads.
In the past, the Land Transport Authority had also considered building an underpass and flyover to improve flow at Newton Circus, which is often a bottleneck between major roads. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Woodlands-bound motorists on Bukit Timah Road can turn back to head to city

A new U-turn designed to reduce traffic going into Newton Circus will open today.

The U-turn is for traffic on Bukit Timah Road heading towards Woodlands to change direction and go towards the city.

The U-turn was mentioned in February in Parliament by Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan. Answering questions from MP Melvin Yong about accidents at Newton Circus, Mr Khaw said improvement works were planned, one of which was for "U-turn facilities at approaching roads to reduce the number of vehicles using the roundabout".

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) had considered building an underpass and flyover to improve flow at Newton Circus, often a bottleneck between major roads.

Mr Yong shared the news of the U-turn on Facebook yesterday.

"A new vehicular U-turn, located underneath the existing Newton Flyover, has been completed and it will be opened to the public with effect from 6am on July 28, 2019 (Sunday)," he wrote. "For motorists travelling along Bukit Timah Road (towards Woodlands) to Bukit Timah Road (towards city), you can expect to shave precious time off your travel journey and avoid driving into Newton Circus."

Observers said the new U-turn could itself cause congestion, as vehicles turning back will form a tailback on one lane, impeding access to the roundabout. As the U-turn is sited close to the circus, motorists may still opt to use the roundabout to turn back. In this case, it may not be feasible to build the U-turn farther from the circus as a ramp for a viaduct is in the way.

In response to queries, the LTA said the U-turn was part of a road improvement contract awarded to Megastone Holdings. The works include expanding the junctions at Balmoral Road/Bukit Timah Road and Newton Circus and adding four U-turn facilities along the junctions.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 28, 2019, with the headline 'New U-turn to cut Newton Circus traffic'. Print Edition | Subscribe