The Benjamin Sheares Bridge was built as part of the East Coast Parkway Express that connected the Ayer Rajah Expressway at the Shenton Way financial district to Changi Airport in the east. Construction of the viaduct on reclaimed land across what later became Marina Bay started in 1977 and was completed in 1981 by Japanese contractor Sato Kogyo at a cost of $177 million. The over 1.8-kilometre-long pre-stressed concrete structure with 23 spans was built to allow ships to pass underneath it. The bridge was officially opened in September 1981 by then Minister for the Environment Ong Pang Boon and named in honour of Dr. Benjamin Henry Sheares, the second President of Singapore (1971-1981) who had died in office earlier that year. Since 1995, the bridge has featured as part of the route for the combined Sheares Bridge Run and Army Half Marathon organised by the Singapore Armed Forces Recreation Association.In the background is the Central Business District (CBD) skyline with its towering skyscrapers. The CBD area on the south bank of the Singapore River underwent several phases of major redevelopment from the late 1960s to 1980s as part of the government’s urban renewal schemes for the old city centre. The most notable building to be erected as part of the renewal projects was the 63-storey Overseas Union Bank (OUB) Centre (centre background). Built at a cost of $500 million to house the bank’s headquarters, the 280-metre-high structure was then the tallest building in Asia and the eleventh highest in the world when it was completed in November 1986.