Longer travel time for motorists after traffic changes in Novena
For Mr Jared Tang, 23, a drive to Novena for his monthly medical appointment used to take about 25 minutes from his home in Jurong.
But his journey has been lengthened by 20 to 30 minutes when he drives to Novena during the evening peak period, after the road junctions in the area were reconfigured in late October for the construction of the North-South Corridor (NSC), which is expected to be completed in 2027.
“The roads here had usually been congested during the peak hours because of the construction. But now there are more turns to make and more traffic lights,” said Mr Tang, who is self-employed. “I have to take more travelling time into consideration, if not I might be late for my appointment again.”
In a Facebook post in October, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said the junctions between Thomson, Newton and Moulmein roads will be reconfigured from Oct 21 to facilitate the next phase of NSC works in Novena.
It reminded motorists to factor in more travel time for their journey due to changes in traffic flow, and to look out for signage for guidance when driving through the area.
Two barrier-free pedestrian overhead bridges, which have lifts, have also been added.
Due to the density of the Novena area and the multiple utility lines that run underneath, reconfiguration of the junctions to create space for the NSC construction is one of the several stages of traffic diversions needed, said LTA.
According to LTA, traffic conditions in the area will continue to be monitored, and adjustments will be made if necessary.
The 21.5km NSC will be Singapore’s longest transit priority corridor, featuring dedicated bus lanes, cycling trunk routes and pedestrian paths that link the northern parts of Singapore to the city.
When The Straits Times visited the junctions in Novena last Thursday evening, traffic in Thomson Road moving from both Moulmein Road and the city in the direction of the Pan-Island Expressway began slowing down at 5.40pm.
Traffic coming from Newton began to crawl after 6.30pm.
Ms Mindy Chong, 23, said the latest changes have made the stretch of road even more confusing to navigate.
This is the second time the traffic junctions between Thomson, Newton and Moulmein roads have been changed to facilitate NSC works. The previous time the junctions were reconfigured was in October 2020.
Ms Chong, who works in the research industry, used to drive through the area once every three days. She now tries to take alternative routes or use public transport instead.
“The traffic there had always been bad even prior to the changes, but I think because everyone is similarly confused by the changes, it has worsened.”
Residents living in the area said they need to factor in more travelling time when taking their children to school.
Housewife Elizabeth Tay, who drives her children to school every day, said the five-minute drive may end up taking at least twice as long.
“The road changes are quite a hassle,” said the 43-year-old. “I do miss a turn once in a while.”
Other residents and pedestrians said the reconfiguration has not caused much disruption in terms of walking time.
Mr Dan Yeo, 51, said his walking time has remained about the same. “You have to make some detours, but the difference is minimal, a minute’s difference at most,” said the IT professional who works in the area.
He added that the new overhead bridges have also made it easier to cross the road.
Sales assistant Adeline Ng, who was in the area for the first time since the reconfiguration of junctions, found it confusing at first.
The 45-year-old ended up making detours, but she said the navigation was still manageable and did not cause much inconvenience.
Mr Yeo said: “Singapore has many other such construction works going on, it’s not just here. I have come to accept it, it’s part and parcel of life.”
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