An aerial shot of the East Coast area with recreational, residential, and commercial facilities

Reclaimed from the Sea: The Evolution of East Coast and Marine Parade

The transformation of Marine Parade and the East Coast area is a testament to a significant land reclamation project that took place between the 1960s and 1980s.

Marine Parade, being the pioneer housing estate constructed entirely on reclaimed land, is set to commemorate its 50th anniversary in 2024, marking the inception of its first residents.

Looking forward, another ambitious reclamation project, Long Island, is slated for the south-eastern coast. Upon completion, this reclaimed stretch will not only safeguard Singapore from rising sea levels but also host a reservoir catering to the country’s growing water needs. Additionally, it will provide space for new homes and amenities, addressing future land requirements.

Reflecting on the 20-year East Coast Reclamation Scheme, finalized in 1985, the project added an impressive 1,525 hectares of land and 18 kilometers of new coastline.

1963: Testing the Waters A pilot project reclaimed about 19 hectares of land, equivalent to roughly 25 football fields, along the Bedok coast.

1966 to 1971: Work Commences Phase 1 witnessed the reclamation of 405 hectares of land, spanning from Bedok to the Singapore Swimming Club in Tanjong Rhu.

Excavating Local Soil Hills in locations like Bedok and Siglap underwent cutting and leveling, with the extracted earth used for the project. Approximately 20,000 cubic meters of earth were daily transferred to the sea via a conveyor belt, with additional sand sourced from overseas.

1970 and 1971: Extending the Reclaimed Stretch Phase 2 extended the reclamation to the tip of Tanjong Rhu.

1972: First Phase of East Coast Park Development In 1972, the once arid reclaimed shoreline started flourishing with the introduction of plants and trees.

1972 to 1976: First HDB Flats in Marine Parade The construction of the initial blocks of flats in Marine Parade commenced in 1972 on land reclaimed in Phases 1 and 2. Phases 3 to 7 unfolded between 1971 and 1985, with the entire 20-year reclamation project costing approximately $613 million.

Completion of the first public housing precinct, comprising Blocks 1 to 8 in Marine Terrace, occurred in 1974. By 1976, Marine Parade Estate, featuring 7,800 public housing units, had been fully developed.

1981: Completion of the East Coast Parkway The East Coast Parkway (ECP), connecting Marina Centre in Tanjong Rhu to Shenton Way, opened its final section to traffic in September 1981.

1991: Long Island Concept First Mooted The idea of Long Island as a reclaimed haven for beach-front housing and leisure was initially proposed in the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA’s) 1991 Concept Plan.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, during the 2019 National Day Rally, shared his vision of creating Long Island, emphasizing its integration of coastal protection with land reclamation. Coastal protection studies began in 2021 on the City-East Coast area, with URA delving into the Long Island concept as part of the Long-Term Plan Review in 2022. Public feedback is actively sought in this phase.

From early 2024 onward, environmental and engineering studies will be conducted by authorities and agencies, setting the stage for guiding Long Island’s development.

Source: The Straits Times

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