Central Expressway, Singapore

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Central Expressway
Lebuhraya Tengah
மத்திய விரைவுச்சாலை
Central Expressway is labelled in single blue line
Route information
Length15.8 km (9.8 mi)
HistoryFirst section opened on 17 June 1989,
last section opened on 21 September 1991
Major junctions
South endBukit Merah (AYE)
 SLE, TPE, ORRS (Braddell Road), PIE, NSC, AYE
North endYio Chu Kang (SLE, TPE)
RegionsSeletar, Ang Mo Kio, Serangoon, Kallang, Bishan, Toa Payoh, Central Area, Bukit Merah, Novena
Highway system
Expressways of Singapore

The Central Expressway (Abbreviation: CTE) in Singapore is the major highway connecting the city centre of Singapore with the northern residential parts of the island, including Toa Payoh, Bishan and Ang Mo Kio and further onwards to the Seletar Expressway and the Tampines Expressway.

As from 29 December 2013, SLE and CTE are one of the two pairs of expressways in Singapore which are linked together, the other being the KPE and MCE.


Before CTE was proposed, planning for the Sembawang Expressway started. Running from Nee Soon via Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, to Jalan Toa Payoh, it will then be connected to Central Expressway, which did not materialise on 27 May 1979.[1]

The Sembawang Expressway, will be completed in 1982 to reduce traffic congestion at Toa Payoh. Further extension to Thomson Road/Norfolk Road, when completed in 1984, will also reduce traffic jams at Toa Payoh.[2][3]

First Stage of Expressway[edit]

The first stage of the expressway began as separate parts, one from Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 to PIE on 31 August 1983. The extension to Thomson Road / Bukit Timah Road (Next to Cavenagh Road) was opened on 18 May 1985.

On 30 August 1986, more than 400 flats at Norfolk Road built by the Singapore Improvement Trust will make way for a new housing estate and the Central Expressway. The first 114 flats were pulled down last month. Another 23 blocks of 332 homes will be demolished by the end of the year. The PWD had handled the first phase demolition of the CTE from Norfolk Road to Bukit Timah Road. On 16 January 1986, even used-car dealers at the Kampong Java fringe carpark have been given notice to vacate the premises by Feb 28. A Land Office spokesman said the notice was served until October because the land is required for the extension of the CTE to Lower Delta Road and the Ayer Rajah Expressway. The first half of the Central Expressway from Yio Chu Kang Road to Thomson Road, and cutting through the most populous areas, work will start on September 1986 and on 14 January 1987, the section of the Central Expressway will be officially opened. The stretch between Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 and Ang Ko Kio Avenue 5 will be declared open.

On 11 June 1988, travelling north from Cavenagh Road towards the Central Expressway can use the newly completed Kampong Java flyover tomorrow from 3 pm. They can get to Moulmein Road via the slip road near the Moulmein Flyover. Motorists along Norfolk Road will no longer be able. On 26 November 1988, the stretch of CTE southbound carriageway from Yio Chu Kang Road to Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 was opened. On 22 May 1986, the government had acquired another portion of Ang Mo Kio, has acquired another piece of land to make way for the Central Expressway from Ang Mo Kio to Orchard Road. An area of 21,836 square metres in Ang Mo Kio is to be acquired for the section running from Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 to Yio Chu Kang Road.

On 28 November 1988, the new slip road to city from Seletar Hills will also open. The stretch from Yio Chu Kang Road to Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 was opened on 17 June 1989, and the construction was delayed by nearly two years because of resettlement problems. The completion of the northward extension of the Central Expressway to Yio Chu Kang Road has been delayed because, among other things, an edible oil factory is standing in its way. It will be completed by the end of the year instead of March 1989.[4]

A part of Tiong Poh Road between Peng Nguan Street and Guan Chuan Street will be permanently closed by the Public Works Department tomorrow at 10 am for the construction of the Central Expressway on 7 January 1987.

On 24 September 1988, the second stretch from Chin Swee Road in Chinatown to the Ayer Rajah Expressway in Radin Mas was opened. Work has begun on 31 January 1986.

Second Stage of Expressway[edit]

The second stage of the expressway also involved the construction of the two tunnels, the north tunnel being 700 m (766 yards) long and the south tunnel being 1.7 km (1.06 miles) long, that travel underneath previously built-up areas, including the Singapore River, Fort Canning Park and Orchard Road. This stretch was opened on 21 September 1991. A contract was signed on 23 March 1988. Construction required the acquisition of several roads and diversion on 28 September 1986 -

  • The stretch of Cavenagh Road between Keng Lee Road and Bukit Timah Road (one-way street)
  • The stretch of Clemenceau Avenue North between Cairnhill Road and Orchard Road
  • Slight diversions of Clemenceau Avenue and Chin Swee Road to allow CTE tunnels to pass. The Chin Swee Road was diverted on 17 July 1988 northbound and the southbound traffic was diverted on 10 December 1988.

On 2 March 1988, work is starting soon for the underground highway. On 18 July 1988, work on CTE tunnel roads begins a $313 million project, to bring across the junctions of Havelock Road, Clemenceau Avenue, Upper Cross Street and Chin Swee Road with disruptions.

In addition, on 17 October 1988, Oxley Rise flyover has been closed. Vehicles coming from Fort Canning Road towards Killiney Road have to use a road diversion which crosses Clemenceau Avenue. To make things easier, road signs and traffic lights have been installed to guide motorists.

On 3 September 1989, a stretch of Clemenceau Avenue to be closed for CTE works, which involves the demolition of Clemenceau Bridge. The ALS booth at Tank Road will close on 30 November 1988 due to the construction of the Central Expressway. Motorists can get their licences from sales booths at Kim Seng Road and Ganges Avenue.[5]

The CTE tunnels were the only underground roads in Singapore until the Fort Canning Tunnel was opened on 16 January 2007 and the only expressway with tunnels until the second stretch of the Kallang–Paya Lebar Expressway were opened on 26 October 2007.

As it is the only expressway to connect the city and the northern residential areas, it is more prone to congestion than the other expressways in Singapore. In the latest attempt to relieve congestion, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced on 27 May 2005 that with effect from 1 August 2005, Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) operation hours for the CTE will be extended into the evening, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This is the first time that evening ERP hours were introduced for a Singapore road.

A section of the CTE passes under the Singapore River, causing significant water seepage problems. Despite the LTA plugging nearly 2000 leaks and spending "millions", on 9 May 2007, chunks of concrete fell from the ceiling of the south-bound tunnel. There were no injuries.[6]

Central Expressway, near the Cavenagh Road exit.

Road interchanges[edit]

No. Northbound exit to road (destinations) Interchange Type No. Southbound exit to road (destinations)
Start of expressway Radin Mas I/C Directional T End of expressway (AYE)
No Exit Bukit Merah I/C SPUI 1A Jalan Bukit Merah
1B Chin Swee Road, Tiong Bahru Road Outram I/C Tight Diamond (TUDI) 1B Outram Road
Start of Chin Swee Tunnel
2 Clemenceau Avenue and Merchant Road 2 Havelock Road
End of Chin Swee Tunnel
No Exit 4 Buyong Road to Orchard Road
Start of Kampong Java Tunnel
No Exit 5 Cairnhill Circle
End of Kampong Java Tunnel
No Exit Bukit Timah I/C SPUI 6 Bukit Timah Road, Cavenagh Road
7A Moulmein Road Moulmein I/C Parclo No Exit
7B Jalan Bahagia No Exit
No Exit Moulmein I/C Parclo 7C Moulmein Road
No Exit Moulemin I/C Parclo 7D Jalan Kebun Limau
8A PIE (Tuas) Whampoa I/C Cloverleaf 8A PIE (Tuas)
8B PIE (Changi Airport)
Upper Serangoon Road
Whampoa I/C Cloverleaf 8B PIE (Changi Airport)
Upper Serangoon Road
10 Braddell Road Braddell I/C 3-level SPUI 10 Braddell Road
11 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 Ang Mo Kio South I/C SPUI 11 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1
12A Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 Ang Mo Kio Central I/C Diamond No Exit
12B Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 Ang Mo Kio North I/C Diamond No Exit
No Exit Ang Mo Kio North I/C Diamond 14 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 and Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5
15 Yio Chu Kang Road Yio Chu Kang I/C SPUI No Exit
16 Seletar West Link (Yishun Avenue 1) No Exit
End of expressway (SLE) Seletar I/C Directional T
Start of expressway (SLE)


External links[edit]