- The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will put out a tender today to appoint a specialist for site investigation (SI) works for the direct alignment option of the Cross Island Line (CRL). This is in addition to the SI works for the skirting alignment option which started last month. Both alignment options are being studied and site investigations are essential to help LTA assess their engineering feasibility.
- The tender follows many discussions with nature groups, residents and other stakeholders, as well as takes into account the petition by the Love Our Macritchie Forest movement. The National Parks Board (NParks) gave approval for the SI works within the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) to proceed after these extensive public consultations and discussions on the mitigating measures with LTA and the nature groups. The works are expected to commence in 4Q2016.
- The findings from the SI works will provide LTA with detailed information on the underground soil conditions. They will also be inputs to Phase 2 of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which will assess the impact of construction and operations for the two possible CRL alignments (direct and skirting). Only after the SI works, Phase 2 of the EIA, and taking into account various concerns and considerations, will the Government take a decision on the alignment.
Additional Mitigating Measures to Reduce Environmental Impact
- To reduce the environmental impact of the SI works on the CCNR, LTA will be implementing a suite of mitigating measures as outlined in the EIA (Phase 1) Report. In addition, after the EIA (Phase 1) Report, LTA had discussed further with the nature groups and NParks, and now will be implementing an additional set of mitigating measures (Annex A).
- These additional mitigation measures include:
- Scheduling the geophysical surveys to include at least one to two rest days in between the surveys;
- Engaging a certified arborist to ensure that trees are not damaged during the works;
- Involving nature groups as observers for the SI works to reinforce compliance with the mitigating measures; and
- Having NParks officers issue immediate stop-work orders should there be any breach of or deviation from the agreed mitigating measures, or when pollution is detected.
- LTA Chief Executive, Mr Chew Men Leong, said, “LTA understands the sensitivity of the SI works, and will work with NParks and the nature groups closely to ensure that all mitigating measures are rigorously implemented. We have received very useful feedback from the various stakeholders, including nature group representatives, and we have taken in most of their suggestions on a further set of mitigating measures for the conduct of the works. The Government has not yet decided which alignment to take for the CRL. We will continue to study both possible alignments objectively, taking into consideration all factors and the concerns of all stakeholders, and the findings from the SI works will help the Government make an informed and considered decision.”
Government Undertaking Robust Study of Both Alignment Options
- The Government is undertaking a robust study of the two possible alignments in the vicinity of the CCNR. The direct alignment is 4km long, with 2km of the tunnel running beneath the CCNR and the other 2km outside it, while the skirting alignment is about 9km long. The direct alignment runs deep (approximately 12 storeys) underground and will not require any surface construction or infrastructure in the CCNR.
- As both possible alignments will have different impact on various stakeholders, it is necessary for the Government to undertake this study to make an informed decision. The Government’s decision will be guided by considerations including potential impact on the CCNR, any land and home acquisition that might be needed, transport connectivity, travel times and costs.
CRL - Improved Connectivity, Shorter Travel Times & More Alternative Travel Routes
- The CRL is a critical component of our rail network plans. It will bring significant benefits to commuters by improving network connectivity and network resilience.
- When completed, the CRL which starts from Changi, and passes through Loyang, Pasir Ris, Hougang, Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Timah, Clementi, West Coast and Jurong, is expected to have a daily ridership of at least 600,000 commuters. It will connect all of our existing radial MRT lines, with close to half of the 30-plus CRL stations being interchange stations.
- Commuters using the CRL can expect to complete their journeys in significantly shorter times than today. For example, with the CRL, a public transport commuter travelling from Ang Mo Kio can reach almost any part of Singapore in less than an hour, saving up to 30 to 40 minutes of travel time. The eastern leg of the CRL will include a segment that extends into the centre of Punggol. Residents in Punggol will be able to travel directly to Pasir Ris - a popular travel route - in only 10 to 15 minutes, compared to a 40-minute bus journey today.
- The CRL will also help to redistribute commuter load away from the other lines, and make the loading on those lines even more comfortable for commuters. It will enhance the resilience of the MRT network. Commuters will have more alternative travel routes on the rail network to get to their destinations, in the event of a service disruption on one of the lines.
 The appointed SI contractor is currently doing cable detection, authority clearances, and other related preparatory works. Physical drilling works will be starting this month.