SINGAPORE: The locations of some ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) gantries in the Central Business District (CBD) and on the East Coast Parkway (ECP) will be adjusted when the new Marina Coastal Expressway opens at the end of this year.
The ERP rates and the operation hours however, will remain unchanged.
Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew revealed this as he visited the work site of the new Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) on Thursday morning.
The MCE is Singapore's 10th expressway and is five-kilometre long.
The Land Transport Authority says the MCE, when it is ready, will be the main route for motorists travelling between the ECP or the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) in the east, and the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) in the west.
The AYE spans 26.5 kilometres and runs from the western end of the ECP to Tuas in the west. It also connects to Malaysia via the Tuas Second Link.
By then, parts of the existing ECP within the city will be downgraded to an arterial road to serve the new Downtown in Marina.
To make sure traffic into the CBD remains in check given the changes, gantries on the ECP towards Changi will be adjusted.
Those before the Rochor Road exit and the slip road into ECP from Ophir Road will be removed.
Instead, there will be new gantries on the MCE in the eastbound direction, on the slip road into MCE from Marina Boulevard (eastbound) and on the ECP (Changi) before KPE.
As with current gantries, the three new gantries will operate during the evening peak hours between 6pm and 8pm.
Existing ECP gantries towards the city will also be adjusted.
Those after Fort Road and on the slip road into ECP from Ophir Road will be removed.
Three existing gantries in the Shenton Way-Chinatown cordon will also be removed and replaced with another three (Sheares Avenue, Central Boulevard and Maxwell Road.)
Mr Lui said: "Overall, motorists using these affected stretches of the roads will not be crossing more ERP gantries than today. For example, motorists using the ECP-MCE will only pay ERP once on that stretch, as is the case today."
But motorists travelling on the AYE may pay more, when four new gantries go up in 2014.
Three - towards the city between Jurong Town Hall and Clementi roads - will be operational during the morning and evening peak hours on weekdays.
The fourth - towards Tuas near Clementi Road - will be turned on during the weekday evening peak hours only.
But motorists may see a more equitable system with ERP2, a new satellite-based ERP that allows for distance-based charging.
Mr Lui said such a system is feasible but will take several more years before it can be implemented.
"Some motorists are worried that they will be charged the minute they leave home or start their engines. Let me assure you that we have no intention of doing so. At the commencement of ERP2, we will ensure that, from the perspective of the motorist, he will generally have the same paying experience," said Mr Lui.
Currently, there are 71 ERP gantries in Singapore. By mid-2014, there will be 77 gantries.
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