Skirting the Central Catchment Nature Reserve could cost $2B more: LTA

Photo by LTA

Choosing the alternative route instead of the Cross Island Line (CRL) cutting through the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) would cost the government an additional S$2 billion, said the Land Transport Authority on Monday (22 February).

Skirting the CCNR by way of an underground tunnel for such a route would require the construction of longer tunnels and extra ventilation facilities, LTA said in a post on its Facebook page.

In addition, LTA said such a route would require land and home acquisitions. There are landed property homes located along Old Upper Thomson Road, adjacent to the reserve.

The LTA has yet to decide on which route to take, as ground investigations are still ongoing.

One route involves a 4-km direct alignment. Two kilometers of tunnel will be below the CCNR while the remaining 2km will be located outside. There will be no construction on the surface of the reserve.

For the other route, a longer 9-km underground tunnel as well as extra ventilation facilities would be required to skirt around the perimeters of the reserve instead of cutting through it underground. Several nature groups in Singapore have been lobbying for this route, as it leaves the nature reserve untouched.

The underground tunnels for either route will be about 40-meters deep.

LTA also said that it would reduce number of boreholes from 72 to 16 in its ground investigations. These boreholes would be confined to public trails and existing clearings.

“LTA will complement these with non-intrusive geophysical survey methods and horizontal directional coring that will start from outside the CCNR. As such, no vegetation will be cleared,” they said.

There are two phases for the ground assessments. Details of the Phase 1 report were released on 5 February. The second phase assessment is expected to be completed by end of this year.

Nature groups in Singapore are also concerned about the existing wildlife in the reserve that could be affected by the construction of the CRL. The reserve is home to wildlife such as the mousedeer, the slow loris and the endangered Sunda pangolin.

Photo by LTA

The CRL was announced by LTA in January 2013 and is expected to be operational in 2030. The 50-km train line will connect commuters from Jurong to Changi.

From Changi, it will pass through Loyang, Pasir Ris, Hougang and Ang Mo Kio before reaching Sin Ming. From Jurong, it will serve areas including Bukit Timah, Clementi, and the West Coast, before terminating at the Jurong Industrial Estate.

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