How old is this Bridge ?

Sandwiched between an industrial park, a cluster of Chinese temples and two giant Newater storage tanks is a short stretch of road now known as Tampines Avenue. This road is a remnant of the original Tampines Road before the old road was diverted for construction of Paya Lebar Airport. The area has the feel of a small Malaysian town and is a little corner of Singapore that time forgot. About the only reason most people would go there today is a restaurant, Goodyear Seafood Village that used to serve good Pontian style Bak Kut Teh 5 or 6 years ago but whose standard has dropped substantially since then. Their zichar dishes are still okay though.

What motivates this post, though, is the bridge and the “1889” marking shown above. I’m wondering if that could actually mean that the bridge was built in the year 1889. Tampines Road is a pretty old road, and it appears in maps as early as 1873. I’ve attached two screenshots comparing the 1873, 1945 and 1975 maps from https://libmaps.nus.edu.sg. Drainage is not shown in the 1873 maps, but the 1945 and 1975 maps show that Tampines Road crossed a stream roughly at the location of the present bridge as far back as 1945.  Of course, the stream has become a concrete drain today but could it be that the bridge has existed since 1889 ? Or first built in 1889 but rebuilt or renovated in the 130 years since then ? If it really was built in 1889, that would make it as old as the Read Bridge at Clarke Quay.

Maps from 1873 and 1945 showing Tampines Road before construction of Paya Lebar Airport

Somebody has suggested to me that the 1889 does not refer to the year of construction but could be a serial number or some sort of other marking. That’s certainly possible. The bridge including the markings can be seen in Google Street View (https://goo.gl/maps/VwDjGiPsRv22). I took those photos five years ago and for now, there is no sign of imminent redevelopment, but I’m hoping that I can solve this mystery before the bridge and everything around it gets demolished.

Advertisements