Wednesday, October 31, 2007

ORCHARD Road is set for a $40 million facelift

ORCHARD Road is set for a $40 million facelift that will include state-of-the-art lighting, additional spaces for arts and cultural events and a more engaging pedestrian mall, in a bid to attract more local and foreign visitors.

The rejuvenation plans, which was initially outlined in 2005, were rolled out yesterday by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), ahead of a tender for the main mall enhancement construction work. The tender will be called early next month.

Orchard Road already attracts more than seven million foreign visitors each year and the STB is confident that the makeover will push up the number of visitors. ‘Amid a rapidly changing global landscape, Orchard Road needs to go one notch up in order to boost its standing as Singapore’s prime shopping and lifestyle hub,’ said Margaret Teo, assistant chief executive (Leisure) for the STB.

The Orchard Road enhancements are the collective work of the STB, the National Parks, Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), which worked with Cox Group (Australia) to create the designs and plans. The Orchard Road Business Association and several stakeholders of Orchard Road were also consulted.

Three zones have been identified - Tanglin, Orchard and Somerset - which will feature flower, forest and fruit themes respectively. All three zones will boast enhanced road and pedestrian mall lighting to emphasise the trees and foliage. In addition, multi-functional lampposts and street furniture such as granite benches, stainless steel-clad waste bins and bollards will be installed.

A short stretch of the pedestrian mall outside ION Orchard and Wisma Atria will be widened through a one-lane reduction. ‘The section of Orchard Road before the Scotts Road junction has only three lanes of traffic moving forward into a four lane road segment.

‘This does show capacity for smooth traffic movement. Likewise, there is a two-lane right-turn movement from Paterson Road into Orchard Road. A two-lane right-turn movement into a four-lane road will not lead to unnecessary delays.

‘From a lane-balancing concept, the suggested lane reduction can be supported,’ said Mr Chandrasekar, director of community partnerships for the LTA.

Preliminary work to divert underground cables and telecommunication lines began last month, but work on the pedestrian malls will kick off after Chinese New Year next year. The work is expected to be completed by April 2009.

Source : Business Times - 30 Oct 2007

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