Details of the eastern section of the Downtown Line are out, and residents of Tampines and Bedok can expect five more rail stations serving their estates.
The challenge of engineering works is one of the reasons given for the one-year delay.
Residents in the east will have another MRT line to town.
The eastern stretch of the Downtown Line is the final section of a 42-kilometre route linking Expo in the east to Bukit Panjang in the north-west, with a loop through Marina Bay.
From Expo, the train travels to Upper Changi, where the fourth university – The Singapore University of Technology and Design – will be built.
This is followed by five stations serving the housing estates of Tampines and Bedok.
The east is the most heavily-populated region in Singapore, and residents there will form part of the half a million commuters expected on the Downtown Line daily.
Sim Wai Chin, a resident of Bedok Reservoir, said: “”Every morning, I have to take the shuttle bus to Eunos MRT station to change the train to my office at Raffles Place. With the new line, it will save me a lot of time. I will not have to take the shuttle service, I will just take a train direct to my work place.”
The line continues to the industrial area at Jalan Besar station, via stops at Kaki Bukit and Ubi.
According to estimates by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), a person staying in Tampines and working in Kaki Bukit will take half the time to get to work. Instead of a 25-minute bus journey, it will take just a 10-minute train ride.
Jalan Besar station was not included in original plans, but was later added in view of future developments there, and to serve the existing industrial estates in the area.
The new Jalan Besar station will be located at the junction of Kallang Bahru and Lavender Road. The eastern stretch of the Downtown Line will run through areas that are quite heavily built-up, and for that reason, all 16 MRT stations will be built underground.”
Authorities are also expecting the budget for the entire Downtown Line to exceed the original S$12 billion target.
However, LTA declined to reveal estimates as tender for Phase 3 will only be called by the end of the year.
Lim Bok Ngam, acting chief executive, Land Transport Authority, said: “We have said it was indicative, because like any major engineering project, we have to work on the details. So when we went into details, fixed up the alignment, the stations, we find that more effort is required.”
From Jalan Besar, the train approaches the Clarke Quay area, served by River Valley station.
The train will then join the rest of the Downtown Line, which will open in stages from 2013. There will be 34 stations in all. Phase 1 loops through Marina Bay, while Phase 2 takes commuters along the Bukit Timah corridor.
Commuters can transfer to the Circle Line at MacPherson station, and to the East West Line at Tampines and Expo stations.
Apart from traffic diversions, some private land will also be acquired to make way for the line.
But authorities said they will minimise disruption as far as possible.
Transport Minister Raymond Lim said: “A certain amount of inconvenience is inevitable as we integrate our rail lines into our developed urban landscape. As far as possible, we will try our best to ensure that those living and working near the line will face minimal disruptions.”
Private lands that will be acquired to make way for the line include a Shell petrol station along Upper Changi Road, and two parking lots at Bencoolen House.
In addition, 15 landed houses along Merpati Road and Jalan Anggerek have been gazetted for comprehensive redevelopment as part of a policy to intensify land use around MRT stations.
The 2.7-hectare plot of land includes an adjacent 2.3-hectare plot of state land and is slated for a “high-density residential development”, which the Urban Redevelopment Authority said will be built after the completion of Phase 3.
Owners of the houses have five years to hand over the property, and will be given market compensation, in accordance with the Land Acquisition Act.
Source : Channel NewsAsia – 20 Aug 2010