Thursday, April 22, 2010

Double-helix bridge to open with a bang

SINGAPORE’s newest landmark in Marina Bay will debut this Saturday.

This is the iconic pedestrian bridge shaped like a double helix, which will link the part of the Bay near the floating platform to the soon-to-be opened Marina Bay Sands integrated resort.

The official name of the bridge will be unveiled that evening, and the public is invited to catch a two-minute pyrotechnics display, along with music, dance, drum and gongfu performances.

The vehicular bridge running parallel to it and the Youth Olympic Park at the entrance to the bridges will also be declared open that evening. The first vehicles will cruise across the bridge from 3pm the next day.

Those attending Saturday’s event may use the seats on the floating platform on Marina Bay from 6.30pm.

Bands, jugglers, stilt-walkers and fire-twirlers will add to the evening’s razzmatazz from 7.30pm. This will be followed by the pyrotechnics at 8pm, at the official opening attended by National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan.

The 280m long bridge, built to take 16,000 people, will welcome its first public users at 9.30pm; the organisers expect about 2,000 party-goers to show up.

The festivities will continue the next day, with more dance and musical performances from 5.30pm to 9pm.

The pedestrian bridge, plans for which were announced in 2006, was conceived as one of many jewels on a ‘necklace of attractions’ ringing the Bay.

These include the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort, the Marina Bay Financial Centre, and the upcoming Fullerton Bay Hotel and Customs House, a nightspot complex.

With the double-helix bridge and the pedestrian footpath on the vehicular bridge open, a 3.5km pedestrian loop around the Bay will be complete.

Designed by Australia’s Cox Group, the London-founded Arup and homegrown Architects 61, the bridge arches 8.8m above Marina Bay, giving enough clearance under it for pleasure craft to enter the Bay.

The steel used in the structure is no ordinary metal. It is a special duplex stainless steel normally used in the chemical industry to transport highly corrosive material.

The Marina Bay Sands resort on one end of the bridge will have its Phase 1 opening on Tuesday. From then on, it will be accessible by car via the vehicular bridge.

Those walking to the resort from next week can use the double-helix bridge and cross over to the pedestrian footpath on the vehicular bridge.

When the Phase 2 of Marina Bay Sands opens in June, the double-helix bridge will lead directly to the resort.

The Youth Olympic Park next to the floating platform on the other end of the bridge is Singapore’s first art park.

Named after the upcoming Youth Olympic Games in August, it will feature 27 pieces of art by local youths, depicting life’s aspirations; Olympic-themed artwork will be introduced in July.

The two bridges and the park cost $82.9 million.

Source: Straits Times, 22 Apr 2010

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