Central Expressway (CTE)

Central Expressway CTE

All You Need to Know Central Expressway (CTE)

The Central Expressway (CTE) in Singapore is a key thoroughfare that connects the city’s central business district with the island’s northern residential areas, including Toa Payoh, Bishan, and Ang Mo Kio, as well as other expressways like the Seletar Expressway and the Tampines Expressway. SLE and Central Expressway (CTE) are one of two pairs of expressways in Singapore connected as of December 29, 2013, the other being KPE and MCE.

Describe the route

The expressway begins at a connection with the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) at Bukit Merah and travels northeast, passing through Outram and running parallel to Chin Swee Road. Between Chin Swee Road and Bukit Timah Road, the Central Expressway (CTE) travels via two tunnels, with an at-grade section between Buyong Road and Cairnhill Circle, before continuing northeast between Kallang and Novena. After crossing the Pan Island Highway (PIE), the 16-kilometer-long expressway heads north through the communities of Toa Payoh, Bishan, and Ang Mo Kio before coming to an interchange with the Seletar Expressway (SLE) and Tampines Expressway (TPE) (9.9 mi).


A Sembawang Expressway gets suggested before CTE entered the picture. It would link to CTE, which began at Lower Delta Road and ran from Jalan Toa Payoh to Nee Soon through Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 and Nee Soon. But the proposal never came to pass since CTE which was ultimately conceived and constructed as the primary highway connecting Yio Chu Kang Road and the city Area gets completed instead. 

Three stages comprised the CTE project. The construction of an expressway from Yio Chu Kang Road to Bukit Timah Road get the first stage. The late 1980s saw the completion of this portion of CTE, formally inaugurated on June 17, 1989.

Its second phase involved connecting to AYE at Radin Mas, beginning at Chin Swee Road in Chinatown. The CTE project’s last phase of development was also its most challenging. To connect the first and second portions of CTE, two tunnels, Singapore’s first expressway tunnels, were built beneath Orchard, Fort Canning, the Singapore River, and Outram.

CTE cost $500 million to build and finished in 1991 with a total length of 15.5km. The expressway has 12 flyovers, beginning at Seletar Flyover (connected to SLE and TPE), continuing to Yio Chu Kang Flyover, Ang Mo Kio North Flyover, and Ang Mo Kio Central Flyover, Ang Mo Kio South Flyover. And Braddell Flyover, Whampoa Flyover (connected to PIE), Moulmein Flyover, Kampong Java Flyover, Outram Flyover, Bukit Merah Flyover, and ending at Radin Mas (linked to AYE).

Underground tunnels

Only roughly 1.3 km (including some sections built below the level of existing roads) of the 3.7 km (from Bukit Timah Road to Chin Swee Road) entire CTE has surface roadways. The remainder of the freeway runs below ground. 12 North and south tunnels are present. The 700-meter-long, 41-meter-wide north tunnel runs from the Bukit Timah and Cavenagh roads to the Clemenceau Avenue and Cairnhill Circle intersection. Four-lane northern and southern carriageways separate this section of the expressway. 13 To provide access to Orchard Road through the CTE for drivers, an interchange gets constructed at Clemenceau Avenue. 

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