I cannot believe that the MCE planners did not think things through. Of how the traffic is to flow from East to West and vice versa as well as all the other exits from the AYE-ECP model.
I guess the clues to how they planned the MCE is quite clear in the video that the LTA created to explain how the MCE will benefit.
Let’s look at how they were selling the MCE.
a) At 0:12, the narrator says “… will change the way people travel East to West …”
b) At 1:12, the narration is about taking Exit 3 to go to the Marina South Pier and Marina Bay Cruise Centre, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Barrage and Marina Bay Financial Centre.
c) At 1:59 the narration turns to traffic going East and taking Exit 2 to go to Gardens by the Bay, Marina Barrage and MBFC.
The focus of the narration is all about accessing the Marina Bay area. No where does the narration talk about the connectivities that the ECP had to Rochor and from Ophir. This means that as far as the LTA is concerned, traffic is all about new flows that have nothing to do with what is currently happening. In general, that is fine, but the fact is that what was a quick entry into the Rochor and exit via Ophir is now not available except via the new major trunk road, the Central Boulevard. This Central Boulevard (CB for short) exit is going to be the SINGLE merge point from any traffic exiting from the MCE going to the MBFC, Gardens etc. I am not sure of the capacity of the CB, but I reckon it will be a choke point. I think the majority of traffic getting out of the MCE is not going to the Cruise center etc but to the down town areas. Perhaps some of the load will be shared with the Maxwell Road exit (MCE Exit 1), but that is not ready until later. Maybe by then, the traffic flow will be much improved. All of this is something that the LTA should have considered before opening the MCE. What was the hurry to open it in stages when we all know that it will be a mess? Who gave the go ahead to open the MCE with these major links not ready? Did the Cabinet OK this?
Going back to the video, the key message early on was the traffic flow between East and West. It was only in the later part of the video at 2:40, any mention of going to the Northeast via KPE appears. So, the focus of the MCE is really for E<->W traversal.
If we accept that premise, then it completely befuddles me as to why the MCE->ECP exit is a TWO lane exit. One breakdown/accident on that exit means a 50% cut in road capacity meaning back ups in the MCE (all underground BTW) and a nightmare for anyone in a hurry to get to the airport. How did the planners NOT think through this? How was the design review even signed off? Were there external consultants to give an independent review of the design?
If you look at the video the MCE->ECP exit is to the West and loops around before joining the northside of the ECP. There are NO major buildings or infrastructure in that area that is obvious to me that would have required the exit only having 2 lanes. Did the LTA actually determine conclusively that the original ECP eastbound traffic volume was mostly going to the Northeast via KPE and not enough going to the Bedok/Changi area hence validating the 2 lane exit? Really?
I don’t believe that the design is sound and I would urge the LTA to urgently relook and provide for at least two more lanes for the MCE->ECP exit.
Do it NOW.
I am very apprehensive now in going to the airport from the west. In one fell swoop, a fairly predictable eastbound ECP route is mired in a risky two lane MCE->ECP exit.
Just admit that a planning mistake was made. Let’s not wait for a situation before fixing it – numerous parliamentary seats are at risk.