Oil spill causes 13-hour road closure near Orchard
A MAJOR section of road near the Orchard Road shopping belt reopened at 4.55pm yesterday, after a 13-hour closure due to an oil spill.
All five lanes of Paterson Road in the direction of River Valley, from Orchard Road to Orchard Boulevard, were closed for most of yesterday, causing a massive tailback on roads leading to the area.
Congestion built up even on the Central Expressway and Pan-Island Expressway as motorists heading to the affected area tried to find alternative ways around the closed section.
Police were alerted to the oil spill, which stretched across all five lanes at 1.30am yesterday.
The spill was believed to have been caused by a truck, and the truck driver is now assisting in police investigations.
From about 3.50am, the stretch of Paterson Road in front of ION Orchard shopping mall was closed as a safety precaution, while Singapore Civil Defence Force emergency services worked to wash off the oil.
A pair of fire engines spent two hours hosing most of the oil off the road using water jets and biosolvents.
Later, the National Environment Agency took over the clean-up work.
Its clean-up crew used sawdust to try and sweep away the oily residue from the road. Despite four hours of sweeping, the road was still deemed too oily and unsafe for drivers.
The Straits Times understands that after all clean-up efforts were exhausted, the Land Transport Authority decided that the road needed to be resurfaced.
At 10am, The Straits Times saw 20 workers go lane-by-lane to mill and repatch the area.
Forensic investigators were also seen taking samples of the road surface for analysis.
At about noon, the northbound stretch of Paterson Road was converted into a two-way road to allow traffic from Scotts Road to continue towards Paterson Hill.
This helped to relieve the congestion somewhat, but it was not enough to appease many commuters and motorists, who were caught unaware by the road closure.
Volunteer museum guide Shia Ai Li was on a bus to the Peranakan Museum and got caught in the snarl along Scotts Road.
"The traffic was a nightmare, Scotts Road was just chock-a-block (with vehicles)," said the 61-year-old.
"If I had known, I would've taken another route."
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ADRIAN LIM