Remnants of Singapore’s Lost Roads – Kuala Loyang Road

There are many Malay-named roads or places in Singapore that are named after the island’s natural landscapes, such as bukit (“hill” in Malay), sungei, (“river”) or tanjong (“cape”). But there are not many with the name kuala, which refers to “estuary” in Malay. The definition of an estuary is “the tidal mouth of a large river, where the tide meets the stream”. One of the best known names is, of course, Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.

There was, however, one road in Singapore that possessed the name kuala. It was the Kuala Loyang Road, formerly linked to Tampines Road and Upper Changi Road, and was extended to mouth of Sungei Loyang on its other end, where “the tide met the stream”. In the maps of the 1950s, the regions labelled Tampines and Changi are the Pasir Ris New Town and Loyang Industrial Estate today. The network of roads on the eastern side of Kuala Loyang Road, already well-developed six decades back, has become the restricted premises of Selarang Camp and Changi Air Base.

kuala loyang road 1955

Kuala Loyang Road was extended in the late sixties; the original road was stretched all the way to the coastline and was linked to a jetty located between Sungei Loyang and Sungei Selarang. At its midway, a new road, also called Kuala Loyang Road, was branched off to link to Calshot Road.

The seventies saw a series of changes made to the vicinity around Kuala Loyang Road. Private estates known as Bukit Loyang Estate North and South were planned along Tampines Road in the early seventies. In 1978, drainage projects were carried out to convert Sungei Selarang into a canal, while the parcel of land between the river and Kuala Loyang Road was designated as a future industrial estate.

kuala loyang road map 1984

By 1981, a long straight main road had been constructed, cutting through both Tampines Road and Kuala Loyang Road, resulting in an interesting scenario where two Kuala Loyang Roads existed, one kilometre away from each other. As the housing and industrial estates developed in the vicinity, the long main road would go on to become an important road in the northeastern side of Singapore. It was named Loyang Avenue.

Kampong (Sungei) Loyang and Yan Kit Village were the larger villages in the vicinity. The former was located near to the mouth of Sungei Loyang, and had existed until the late eighties before it was torn down. At its former site now stands Aloha Loyang Resort and the row of condominiums at Jalan Loyang Besar. Yan Kit Village, previously situated at the southern end of Kuala Loyang Road, was also demolished in the late eighties.

development of pasir ris and loyang 1980s

Near the junction of Kuala Loyang Road and Tampines Road used to exist a Tanah Merah Besar Malay School. It was also where the former Ministry of Culture organised free movies in the sixties for the residents living in the villages nearby.

A clinic was set up beside the school in the seventies, but by the early nineties, the school premises was converted into a camp site (later renamed as an adventure centre) for the Ministry of Education (MOE) after the school ceased its operation.

kuala loyang road

As for Kuala Loyang Road, it was reduced to a short secondary road as an access to the MOE adventure centre by the mid-nineties. The road was expunged after the premises closed down in mid-2000s. Its street signage had been removed, and it was no longer listed in the official maps.

kuala loyang road2

kuala loyang road4

kuala loyang road5

Published: 14 June 2015

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9 Responses to Remnants of Singapore’s Lost Roads – Kuala Loyang Road

  1. Dennis Gordon says:

    I once did sentry guard duty with the NCC at the Kuala Loyang Road sometime in 1976/77. Saw the picture with the barricade pole, now that was about where I did my sentry duty. Was a school camp outing . (Where is Air Gemuror anyway?) Had a photo of me with my NNC friend at Air Gemuror.

    • Dr N Y Ho says:

      There is still a road off River Valley Road named Jalan Kuala between River Valley Close and Kim Seng Road. It is a cul-de-sac with Yong An Park to its west and the old Morningside Hotel to its east and leads to the River Valley Primary School. It does not lead to The Singap[ore River, so there is no estuary to speak of.

      As for Ayer Germuroh (the old actual spelling of the area) , it is now reclaimed land. It used to be a Malay Kampong/settlement there with its own mosque as well as a Malay SchoolIt was served by a road runnig parallel to the coastline leading from the previous private road called Wing Loong Road which connected with Upper Changi Road at the 11 milestone vicinity. Wing Loong was named after the father of the well-known High Street tailor shop of the same name, Ng Sen Choy, who was the father-in-law of the late Justice F A Chua. Ng has a bungalow at the bend od the Wing Loong Road as it turned eastwards at the end of that stretch leading from the main Upper Changi Road. After passing the Malay settlement, Wing Loong Road joined up with Tanah Merah Besar Road at its junction with Nicoll Drive which contined eastwards to Chani Point near the previous Telok Paku. Singapore’s first Chief Minister (1955-1956), Daivid Saul Marshall used to stay at a bungalow situated between the Malay settlement and the Tanah Merah Besar Road end of Wing Loong Road. Tanah Merah Besar Road joined Upper Changi Road next to the former Changi Prison to Wing LoongRoad/Nicoll Drive.

      As a scout I used to camp at crown land in Ayer Germuroh in the mid 1950s just further up the road from the Malay settlement. There were also some holiday chalets for government servants to rent for their holidays there.

  2. Dr N Y Ho says:

    Therev was also another road that bore the “kuala” word, namely Jalan Kuala Simpang, in the Sembawang Area. It was near the old 12th milestone Sembawang Road, on the same side as Jalan Chencharu and Bah Soon Bah Road but further up north, even more northerly than the former Chye Kay Village which had the former Chye Kay Road branching off from Sembawang Road on the same side and Jalan Lengkok Sembawang opposite it a little further up Sembawang Road.Jalan Ulu Sembawang is slightly more northerly still. Jalan Kuala Simpang was a cul-de-sac ending between the former Sungei Simpang Kiri to its north and Sungei Khatib Bongsu to its south. Of course all those villages there were demolished when Yishun New Town was developed in the 1980s. My wife used to teach for a short while in the former Lee Cheng Chinese School in Chye Kay Village there.

  3. Dr N Y Ho says:

    I remember that the late Mr C K Tang used to have a holiday villa near the end of Kuala Loyang Road that faced the Straits of Johore (the former spelling for the present Johor) in the 1950s/1960s before redevelopment there wiped it out from the map. We also camped there as scouts in the 2nd half of the 1950s when I was at secondary school.

  4. Emmanuel says:

    Where is the place now

  5. Dr N Y Ho says:

    Now the place is replaced by the Loyang Industrial Park.which all the roads there beginning with the word Loyang, west of Sungei Selarang.

  6. Bernard M says:

    Can I pick up on the comment that ‘in the late sixties the original Kuala Loyang Road was stretched all the way to the coastline and was linked to a jetty located between Sungei Loyang and Sungei Selarang’. I surmise this was to serve the new Offshore Supply Base.

    Worth remembering that this jetty (which was 1,300 ft/396 metres long) was in fact part of the (British) Royal Navy Boom Defence Depot, Loyang, which was built in the late 1930s and closed in March 1969. The Depot was 49 acres/20 Ha in area, and had its own internal railway system to move around the heavy buoys, hawsers and salvage equipment. Very little information regarding this Depot seems to have survived.

    After the Royal Navy departed the site was redeveloped as a supply base for offshore oil exploration. It has been completely re-built over the years and it is very unlikely that anything of the original Depot still exists. It is now the TOLL Offshore Supply Base.

    Returning to the subject of Kuala Loyang Road, it is interesting to note that the original (1930s) road from the Boom Defence Depot southwards to Tampines Road was over higher ground a little to the west of where of where Kuala Loyang Road was later build. This higher ground appears to have been removed – perhaps to fill in the nearby large swamp where the Sungei Selarang previously meandered?

    Best wishes

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