Coleman Bridge: New Bridge, Four Times Over

Coleman Bridge: New Bridge, Four Times Over
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Coleman Bridge connects New Bridge Road to Hill Street. The location of the bridge is the second location where a bridge was built to cross the Singapore River.

The Singapore River had its first at the location of the present-day Elgin Bridge, downstream from the Coleman Bridge However, to cope with the rising flow of goods and people between the north and south banks of the river, it was decided that a second bridge was required.

Constructing the New Bridge

The task to design and construct the new bridge fell on the shoulders of George D. Coleman. Coleman was Singapore’s first Government Superintendent of Public Works. Coincidentally, he lived just down the road from the site of the bridge that now bears his name at the location of the Peninsular Shopping Centre.

George Coleman designed a nine-arch brick bridge. This was completed in 1840. Two years later, New Bridge Road was created and named after this “new bridge”.

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Bridge Number 2

This first Coleman Bridge was then replaced in 1865 by a wooden bridge. The new bridge was named Canning Bridge after Lord Charles John Canning. However, in the vernacular, it continued to be referred to as Coleman Bridge.

Bridge Number 3

The second bridge was then replaced with a new iron bridge in 1886. This third Coleman Bridge now catered for three lanes for traffic and had gas lamps for lighting.

Current Coleman Bridge

Coleman BridgeThe fourth time that Coleman Bridge was rebuilt was about one hundred years later in the 1980s. Under the New Bridge Road Widening Scheme, the Coleman Bridge was once again replaced. This time it was widened to create a twin-bridge with four lanes to carry vehicular traffic.

The latest 1990 Coleman Bridge retained some of the decorative features of the 1886 bridge to retain the charm of its Victorian Era predecessor. Beneath this new Coleman Bridge are two underpasses along the banks of the Singapore River to allow pedestrians to walk along the river.

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