A painful waste of public money

July 25, 2013
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

The HDB has built two pedestrian overhead bridges (POB) at Lorong 6 Toa Payoh – barely 20 metres apart. The photo on the left (taken in June 2013) shows a POB under construction in the background and an existing one in in the foreground.$CUT$

When contacted, Mr Khoo Wei Tat, a principal engineer at the HDB, said that a second bridge was constructed because the existing one did not have a covered shelter and that it did not lead directly to the bus-stops on both sides of the road.

The SDP enquired in a subsequent email why a shelter could not be constructed on the existing POB and a covered linkway from the POB to the bus-stops built. This would be much less costly than to build a completely new bridge.

Mr Khoo replied that the HDB had considered the option but found it “technically not feasible” to build a shelter on the existing bridge. As for a covered linkway, he said it would be long and winding and also sterilises the land“.

When asked what “sterilises the land” means, Mr Khoo did not explain but did say that that building a covered linkway will require “additional land”. 

Firstly, a covered linkway connecting the bridge to the bus-stop is not long – it is about than 30 metres on one side of the road and less than 10 metres on the other.

Secondly, it is not winding – there is an existing path from the old bridge to the bus-stop (see photo, right) and it is relatively straight.

Thirdly and obviously, additional land is not required as the path is already in place.

Given the above, the SDP is not persuaded that building a new bridge is the better option. The building of another POB when one already exists seems to be a painful waste of public funds. 

The construction project does not even benefit Singaporeans in any appreciable way as most of the workers are foreigners.

The question is how many more such projects have been, and are being, undertaken? They will, of course, add to the GDP but do we really want this kind of economic growth?

(Photo below taken 25 July 2013: The completed bridge with shelter. According to the HDB, the old bridge will be demolished once the new one is operational.)