Underpasses are rarely found in new towns of Singapore. Probably due to cost, difficulties in construction and drainage issues, the authority prefers to install overhead bridges, traffic lights and zebra crossings that allow pedestrians to cross the roads safely and conveniently.
Underpasses are usually reserved for busy roads or expressways. Most Singaporeans are familiar with the five famous underpasses across East Coast Parkway (ECP) from Marine Parade to East Coast.
Singapore’s first pedestrian underpass was built in 1964 at Connaught Drive, linking to Queen Elizabeth Walk in Esplanade Park.
In Marsiling, however, there is an old underpass across a three-lane Admiralty Road, which is quite unique as the road has little traffic. The length of the underpass is only about 50m long.
It is not sure which year was the underpass constructed. Judging from its condition, it is probably built in the eighties. Marsiling itself is also an old estate, having developed from rubber plantations and wastelands at the early twentieth century to a housing estate in the eighties. Its development as a residential area was even earlier than the Woodlands New Town.
The name Marsiling derived from the Chinese name of Maxiling, where Maxi is the name of a village whom Lim Nee Soon came from. Lim Nee Soon (1879-1936) was a successful Teochew businessman and Chinese pioneer who owned large plots of land in present Yishun (named after him), Sembawang and Marsiling.
One end of the Marsiling Underpass links to Masjid An-Nur Mosque and Marsiling Community Centre, while the other end links to Block 23. In addition to stairs, it also has a gentle slope for cyclists’ usage.
Old underpasses are poorly lit and pose security concern especially at nights when the human traffic is low, which may be another reason why they are not preferred by the authority.
Published: 12 May 2011
Updated: 04 July 2011