WORK to raise a 1.4km stretch of bustling Orchard Road to alleviate its flooding problem will start in the third week of next month and run until the middle of next year.

The $22 million project along Singapore's premier shopping strip is likely to involve laying several coats of asphalt. Pedestrian crossings, bus stops, traffic lights, electronic road pricing gantries and drain inlets will also have to be raised, say contractors and engineers.

A spokesman for national water agency PUB assured motorists that at no point will all four lanes of Orchard Road be closed to traffic at the same time. The work will be done in 100m stretches, one lane at a time and between midnight and 5am to minimise traffic disruption.

The contract for the project, to be carried out in the stretch between Orchard Parade Hotel and Cairnhill Road, has gone to construction firm Or Kim Peow Contractors.

The PUB last week said it was raising the road by an average of 30cm, and by up to 50cm in the more low-lying areas.

This will put the road above the level of Stamford Canal. The canal's overflowing twice this year following uncharacteristically heavy rain put Orchard Road under water; shops lost millions of dollars in damaged goods.

Orchard roadworks soon