Couples in 1980s flocked to Benjamin Sheares Bridge to illegally take wedding photos

The lengths people would go to for a wedding photo.

Tanya Ong | October 24, 2020, 09:44 AM

A light drizzle had started over the city on Dec. 13, 1981.

But for the sake of the perfect wedding photo, one couple remained undeterred.

The bride and groom hurriedly took their places with friends and family, posing for photos on what was Singapore’s latest construction spectacle -- the Benjamin Sheares Bridge -- before dashing back into their cars.

Photo from ST article, Dec. 14, 1981, via NewspaperSG.

They weren’t the only ones that day. Nor year, for that matter.

In the span of a few weekends, many other couples had also descended upon the bridge to take wedding photos right after it opened, reported The Straits Times in 1981.

No motorists are supposed to stop along the expressway unless their vehicle has broken down, but wedding couples paid little heed to these warnings.

In fact, when the bridge first opened, ST called it a "haven for shutterbugs" as motorists in cars, pickups, minibuses and motorcycles descended upon the bridge to take photos of or with the waterfront.

No traffic jam was reported, however, as the motorists "came, stopped for a while, clicked away, and drove off".

Eventually, by 1982, "Don't stop" signs have been put up on the shoulder of the East Coast Parkway

Benjamin Sheares Bridge: Connecting the east to the city

The Benjamin Sheares Bridge is 29m high at its highest point over the Kallang Basin -- approximately the same height as a 10-storey HDB flat.

The bridge would connect motorists from the East Coast to Marina Bay, while providing city-bound vehicles with a scenic view of sprawling skyscrapers joined by ample sky and sea.

Photo from NAS.

With such a stunning view, motorists would stop their vehicles on the highway to take photographs or admire the sights when it first opened, despite warnings issued by the traffic police.

Photo from NAS.

The Benjamin Sheares Bridge, however, offered so much more than just being a visual spectacle.

Built on reclaimed land and over a water body, it was a serious engineering feat when it was completed in 1981.

Photo from NAS.

As part of the East Coast Parkway (ECP), the bridge forms a wider urban planning mission to connect existing roads and highways to high-density satellite towns, while also serving as an efficient bypass that would take traffic around, not into, the city.

Today, some 30 years after it opened, the Benjamin Sheares Bridge would eventually be downgraded from an expressway to an arterial road after the opening of the Marina Coastal Expressway.

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Top photo via NAS, screenshot via NewspaperSG.