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March 10, 2009

Singapore national icon to re-open in 2 weeks
Singapore’s national icon and one of the city-state’s key tourist attractions, the Merlion at Merlion Park, closed for repairs after being slightly damaged in a lightning strike, is expected to re-open in two weeks, reported Channel News Asia.

Lightning during a heavy downpour on February 28 had caused a piece from the Merlion structure to fall onto the wave form at its base. Nobody was hurt.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB), together with professional engineers and appointed contractors, have since assessed the incident's impact on the Merlion's structural integrity and the repair works required.

The Merlion has been assessed to be safe and structurally sound. Immediate repair works will involve re-plastering the affected areas on the Merlion. This will start on 9 March and is targeted for completion by 21 March.

The wave form at the base of the Merlion will require a longer repair time, to allow the required glass material to be fabricated according to the original specifications.

The STB is consulting relevant contractors on the expected duration for repairing the wave form. Steps will be taken to ensure that the repair works to the wave form will not affect the aesthetics of the Merlion when it re-opens in two weeks' time.

Designed and built as a sculpture, the Merlion did not include a lightning conductor. However, STB is now studying the possible lightning protection measures for the Merlion Park to prevent similar incidents from recurring.
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