#Heritage Merdeka Bridge
📷 1: An overhead view of the Kallang Basin and the Merdeka Bridge (Roots.sg)
📷 2: Merdeka Bridge links two sections of the Nicoll Highway (Google Maps)
📷 3: The Merdeka Lions stand at both ends of the Merdeka Bridge (Roots.sg)
📷 4: The Merdeka Lions are currently placed on both sides of steps leading up to the SAFTI MI’s landmark tower of 17 storeys (Roots.sg)
Spanning across the Kallang Basin, near the mouths of the Kallang and Rochor Rivers, is a bridge with a heroic name — the Merdeka Bridge.
It was the first bridge to be built in Singapore after the Japanese Occupation and was named ‘Merdeka Bridge’ to signify our people’s aspirations for independence then, when it was completed in 1956. The Merdeka Bridge may look plain but this was the longest pre-stressed bridge of its kind in Southeast Asia on its completion.
The Merdeka Bridge connects the city centre to the eastern part of Singapore. Originally, it was graced by a pair of stone lions (the “Merdeka Lions”) on both ends of the bridge. In 1966, the Merdeka Lions were removed to make way for the widening of the bridge and the adjoining Nicoll Highway. Thereafter, the lions went through relocations to places such as Stadium Walk (near the entrance of Kallang Park), to the old SAFTI MI at Pasir Laba Camp in 1988, before their final destination at the current SAFTI MI at Upper Jurong Road in 1995.
The Merdeka Bridge has withstood the test of time. Two separate sabotage bombings took place in 1964 during Konfrontasi, causing a small fire in the first instance, and minor damage in the latter. In 2004, a section of the bridge was affected during construction of the Mass Rapid Transit line at Nicoll Highway. Through all that, the bridge remained standing and was restored.
As then Chief Minister Lim Yew Hock said at the bridge’s official opening on 17 Aug 1956, the Merdeka Bridge “symbolised the spirit in which Singapore would achieve independence, with calm and thoughtful planning and through the painstaking laying of a stable solid foundation”. Marked as a historic site by the National Heritage Board since 2002, the Merdeka Bridge continues to serve as a tribute to Singapore’s merdeka journey, bridging the past to the future. #HEREitage