I posted this quiz almost two weeks ago, that is to guess the old road behind the foliage. It must have been a challenging quiz as despite three mundane clues and one interesting clue - the road is still around just realigned - nobody got it right. One Anon was close ("near Dover MRT") and I almost wanted to declare a winner until I realized Dover MRT was not the MRT station I had in mind for my clue. I wrote that the road is near and within walking distance to MRT, but I deliberately omitted one crucial piece of information - the station is not functional yet. The station I had in mind was the soon-to-be-opened "One-North" Circle Line station.
The old North Buona Vista Road looking towards AYE and NUH/medical faculty.
I accidentally "discovered" the road when I was still gunning for my bachelor at NUS. As I was based around the Science faculty, it was convenient to access the makan places at Dover estate opposite the expressway. Today the area consisting of eleven blocks of flats has been selected for en-bloc; the car park in front of Blk 30 was eerily deserted when I checked out the old road in Aug 2011 for this blog.
The heritage landmark, beside the obvious old flats and food center, would be the Dover Playground with its animal theme - a familiar sight to us folks using the overhead bridge from NUS to Dover estate. Much as I appreciate heritage, however I did not have a good impression of this sand-based playground as it was a breeding ground for mosquitoes; the bites stayed with me, not the wounds but the memory of getting bitten. Needless to say, I did not spend too much time at the playground back then.
So what can one do at Dover estate with some time to spare and a cold drink in your hand? One day I must have felt adventurous and since the
Even when I was not that acquainted with Singapore heritage during my university days, I had this nagging suspicion that this was no normal boulevard. Could the "corridor" be an old road that was expunged? No trace of the bitumen exists, unfortunately. It was only later when I started blogging that I began to take an active interest in local heritage; with that came the resources and answers. My hunch was right. Over the years I would witness transformation taking place around it; when construction for Circle Line commenced, they set up camp on the open field (the MRT line went under the field) in the first photo of this blog article but never got to touch the strip of land, the boulevard that is the original North Buona Vista Road. In fact the trees in 2011 are the same as I last saw them many years ago when I was undergraduate in NUS.
1960s street directory showing the original alignment of North Buona Vista Road at Pasir Panjang area. From Nepal Circus (beside Nepal Park), it would join Dover Road and then Ayer Rajah Road. North and South Buona Vista roads were not linked directly last time.
A "second shot" of the above street directory using Bing Maps (2011). Dotted arrow shows what would have been the original alignment of North Buona Vista Road. After 50 years, Ayer Rajah Road has became the familiar AYE and very much widened; other old roads would be Kent Ridge Road, Dover Road and Portsdown Road from this comparison.
How the Kent Ridge area changed over the years. Top aerial from Peter Chan's article, bottom from Google Earth. The original North Buona Vista Road would be under the tree canopy today.