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Singapore's Merlion will commence its first ever move to a new home on 23 April 2002 and complete the unprecedented feat on April 25.

This carefully engineered journey will involve one barge, two DEMAG AC1600S cranes of 500 tonne lifting capacity and a team of 20 engineers and workers on site.

The entire process will take the 8.6 metre tall Merlion from its current site at Merlion Park by the Esplanade Bridge, to its new home 120 metres away on a newly reclaimed promontory in front of The Fullerton Hotel.

The carefully orchestrated process has taken the engineers Antara Koh, the project manager, Urban Redevelopment Authority and the project owner, Singapore Tourism Board 10 months to evaluate. A number of choices were shortlisted.

The Merlion's journey will now be done in three phases. On April 23, the Merlion will be lifted from its current position into a barge, and sailed to the foot of the Esplanade Bridge.

On April 25, at approximately 2:30am, the Merlion will be lifted from the barge by a DEMAG AC1600S crane of 500 tonne capacity and hoisted across the Esplanade Bridge. The barge, now empty of the Merlion, will then sail under the Esplanade Bridge to moor on the other side at Marina Bay, just below the bridge. The Merlion will be lowered into the barge from the bridge and transported to the promontory where it will be installed by the end of the month. 

Esplanade Bridge will be closed to traffic between 12:30am to 5:30am on April 25 morning, to enable this process to take place.

This process will enable the Merlion to be moved with minimal risk. During the excavation, the engineers discovered an additional 0.6 metres to the foundation of the Merlion. This therefore rendered the first method - of sailing the Merlion under the Esplanade Bridge - less feasible. 

Mr Yeo Khee Leng, STB's Chief Executive, said: "Our mission is to move the Merlion safely to its new home. We will do whatever it takes to ensure its safe arrival. "

In fact, STB, URA and the engineers from Antara Koh have worked on several methods of moving the Merlion from the start. This was necessary to accommodate changes along the way. Every method recommended had to undergo rigorous evaluation. 

This relocation method has always been one of the methods under consideration. Given the new circumstances, this is the best method that presents the least risk. It is definitely a more complicated and time-consuming process. It will require road closures and take three days instead of one to move the Merlion to its new home.

The STB invites all to witness this historic milestone in the making on 23 April at 9am. This first phase of the relocation process is expected to take two hours. In case of bad weather, the move will be pushed back to 6pm in the evening. The best places to view the whole moving process is from Queen Elizabeth Walk, Esplanade Bridge or on a bumboat at the mouth of the river.

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