The bridge was built to provide faster vehicular access between Marina Centre and the financial district of Shenton Way. Construction of the bridge began in early 1994 and was completed in March 1997. The main contractor was Obayashi Corporation. The bridge then blocked views of the Merlion statue from the Marina Bay waterfront, raising a need for the original Merlion statue to be relocated from the back to the front of the bridge.
The bridge offers panoramic views of Marina South and the rest of Marina Bay. However, this also makes it subject to occasional road closures on special occasions, where the bridge closes to all road traffic to allow spectators and pedestrians to observe fireworks seen during the National Day celebrations, New Year's Eve and the Singapore Fireworks Celebrations. On nights like these, all eight lanes of traffic will be packed with onlookers. Watching firework displays from the bridge has been made more pleasant, as street lights on the bridge are switched off right before and switched back on right after.