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. Prominent buildings erected as part of the renewal projects included: the 47-storey Raffles Tower (centre left background) owned by Singapore Land that was completed in 1982 and renamed Shell Tower after its main tenant; the 44-storey Standard Chartered Bank Building (centre background), which was officially opened in 1984 to house the bank’s headquarters; the 30-storey United Overseas Bank (UOB) Building (centre background, behind Standard Chartered Bank Building), which was the tallest landmark in the city centre when it was erected in 1974; and the 52-storey Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) Centre (centre right background), which was the highest building in the CBD when it was completed in 1976. The structure under construction (right background) is the Marina Square shopping, hotel and recreational complex situated on land reclaimed from the sea next to the Esplanade waterfront. The complex was opened in several stages with a final grand opening held in January 1988.