It will never be a bridge too far again for residents of Senja ward, in Bukit Panjang.
For a year, it would take teenager Ricardo Tan, who lives at Block 629 Senja Road, about 35 minutes to get to school – even though it is less than 600m from his home.
That was because a canal separated his home from his school, forcing the Jurong Pioneer Junior College student to make a 1km detour.
To get to college, he would ride two buses, which would often get stuck in morning traffic on Woodlands Road and Choa Chu Kang Road.
But, since January, he has been walking on a newly built footpath and a restored bridge over Pang Sua Canal – cutting his travel time to 15 minutes.
“The new path and bridge have really made a difference,” said the 18-year-old. “Now my friends and I are hardly late.”
The improvement works required the cooperation of three MPs and three government agencies – the National Parks Board (NParks), the PUB and the Land Transport Authority – as well as the Municipal Services Office to coordinate the project.
Pang Sua Bridge was officially opened yesterday, with Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong and Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Liang Eng Hwa in attendance.
Mr Liang, who oversees Senja ward, joked that it was a “big nightmare” trying to figure out a solution for the residents.
There had been an old bridge at the canal, but it had deteriorated over time.
There was also a plot of land with no footpath, which made it difficult for people to walk to amenities, such as schools, the polyclinic and coffee shops, across the canal.
Getting the different agencies’ perspectives was a complicated process, Mr Liang said.
“The Singapore Land Authority handles land, the PUB was in charge of the canal and the drains, the Land Transport Authority takes care of walkability aspects, the NParks oversees the park space and trees and for a while, the Urban Redevelopment Authority was involved because part of the land was for the Rail Corridor,” he added.
What was spent on improvement works for the bridge, path and lights.
How long it takes student Ricardo Tan, who lives in Block 629 Senja Road, to get to Jurong Pioneer Junior College now. It used to take him 35 minutes to get to school although it is less than 600m away.
Number of government agencies involved in the improvement works, including the bridge.
In the end, the Municipal Services Office was roped in to coordinate the work among the agencies.
The Government spent about $500,000 on improvement works for the bridge, footpath and lighting, a Municipal Services Office spokesman said.
Mr Liang estimates that in his ward alone, about 3,500 families could benefit from the improved connectivity.